Two years ago, hundreds of Whitman students were involved in efforts to elect President Barack Obama. And while there may not be as much excitement this year, many Whitman students are involved in campaigning and getting out the vote in the upcoming election which takes place Tuesday, Nov. 2.
“It’s extremely important for young people to vote,” said senior Clara Van Eck, the president of the Young Democrats on campus. “They have issues that the rest of the population doesn’t have: specifically, education.”
In this area, funding is always the issue. Van Eck points out that, in the last two years, the tuition for college has risen seven thousand dollars, while average grant and scholarship amounts have only gone up two thousand dollars.
Van Eck, who became a Washington resident this year, looks forward to voting here and paying back the state that showed her “compassion and inclusion” in the form of scholarships, even when she wasn’t a resident.
First-year Kayvon Behroozian feels that voting is essential to one’s civic duty.
“If you’re going to complain about government issues, take part in the voting process as your civic duty to make your complaints valid,” he said.
In the Aug. 17 primary, only 46 percent of the Walla Walla area voted.
“For the amount of enthusiasm for this election and for this much education, I would expect the voting figures to be higher,” said State Committeewoman for the Republican Party Sandra Richardson.
As a way to get people voting on campus, Young Democrats set up a voter registration table in Reid Campus Center for a week earlier in October. They registered more than 50 students to vote either here or in their home state.
“I had been meaning to do it for a long time,” said first-year Phoebe Horvath. “They were very helpful.”
The club has also been canvassing for Democrat Patty Murray, who is running in a tight reelection race for her seat as a U.S. Senator.
Though Whitman’s Campus Conservative club is currently inactive, students still volunteer for the Walla Walla Republican Party branch.
This year, however, there are fewer Whitman volunteers for both parties.
“It appears that younger voters are less likely to participate in this election than in 2008,” said Professor of Forensics Jim Hanson. “Young voters are not going to be represented as well as they should be.”
When it comes to voting Democratic Party volunteer Buddy Georgia thinks that one should “diversify your sources of information. You need to know what the other side is saying.”
In most states, ballots must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 2 to be counted.
Important Washington State Initiatives
1098: This initiative, if passed, would impose an income tax of 5 percent on individuals who make over $200,000 and couples who make over $400,000. Currently, there is no state income tax in Washington. Of the money earned from this tax, 70 percent would go towards education and 30 percent towards health services. In addition, some other state taxes, including property taxes, would go down.
1100 & 1105: Currently, all “spirits” or hard liquor, and wine above 24 percent alcohol are sold by the state. 1100 and 1105 would remove this restriction to create competitive prices and jobs. However, this competitive market would mean diverting sales away from small local wineries, and thus more money would go out of state. Also, the money that Washington earns from these alcohol sales would be lost.
1107: A yes vote on this initiative would repeal the present candy and grocery tax in Washington which affects candy, bottled water and soda. Keeping the tax would contribute to state funds.