The American Association of University Woman visited NCC’s Main Campus on Sept. 22 to encourage students to vote.
The group, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, self-reports “more than 170,000 members and supporters, 1,000 branches and 800 college/university institution partners.” Its mission, found on the organization’s website, is “advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.”
The message to NCC students on this day: Take politics seriously and to get out and vote.
At the AAUW table were stickers, pamphlets and pins with the message “It’s My Vote I Will Be Heard.” Also at the table was Toni Hoffman, a member of the AAUW-PA, Easton chapter, a 20-plus year veteran, and its State Public Policy co-chair.
“I think they feel government doesn’t work and their vote doesn’t make a difference,” Hoffman said when asked why young people don’t vote.
Her opinion may have merit. A Tufts University poll showed that 17.2 percent of voters aged 18-29 didn’t vote in the 2010 midterm elections because they felt their vote would not count.
In the 2012 election, youth (ages 18-24) turnout dropped 7 percent from the 2008 election according, to a Pew Research Center poll. The youth vote dropped even more in the 2014 midterm election with the 18-29 age group comprising only 13 percent of all voters.
Armed with that information, what does the AAUW tell young people who decide not to vote?
“If they don’t vote, they certainly can’t make a difference and the only way to change things is to do your research on the candidates running, especially at the local level, and vote,” Hoffman said.
The AAUW first met in 1881, nearly 135 years ago, yet still find relevant issues that matter to them in United States politics. What are the issues that matter for the group today?
“Aside from getting young people to vote, equal pay for woman, we focus on gender equity, the minimum wage and paid family leave,” Hoffman said.
Some NCC students might have voted before and some might be thinking about voting for the first time.
“As long as they express their message respectfully, with facts, and as long as they aren’t forcing their message in people’s faces, I am okay with them fighting for my rights,” said Katie Hullihen, a second-year Communications Studies major.
Hullihen just turned 19, hasn’t had the chance to vote yet, and remains undecided on whether or not she’s going to vote in 2016.
“It depends on who’s in the race,” she said. “If it isn’t someone I like, I won’t vote.”