After a low youth voter turnout in 2010, projections for the youth vote in 2012 seemed to be less than that of the momentous turnout in 2008. Democrats made it a point to make the youth vote become an important factor in the 2008 election, but as many students, saw soon after inauguration day, change didn’t come as easily as we had expected. To many voters’ surprise, the youth vote was higher in 2012 than it was in 2008.

Paul Ryan’s dig on fading Obama posters may have been a bit extreme, but it did shed light on the election’s youth voter’s perspective, and the voter climate overall. Would the next four years be worth the another Obama term? Would change for our generation be financially sustainable?

This election was far different from the 2008 election that promised some generic change. It wasn’t about who had the spiffiest graphics or best campaign t-shirts. It was about our future, about how much we would have to pay in loans after college, about what jobs we could find, and about what our futures would shape into.

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We Lower-Manhattanites are a scrappy bunch of people. We are starving artists, college students, writers, and Wall Street bankers. This past week, after Hurricane Sandy hit, all of lower Manhattan was out of power for days.

I am writing this after being evacuated from my dorm and living out of NYU’s Kimmel Center for days—a building that offered food, shelter, and power to students. For those not seeking refuge outside of their ‘South of Power’ apartments, I’ve heard stories of raw ramen for dinner and pilgrimages north for cell phone service. Luckily, power resumed for much of my neighborhood recently, so I have a bed to sleep in again.

Rather than thinking about where I would be relocated after the storm on Monday, my concerns shifted to how Sandy would affect the upcoming election. Perhaps my priorities need adjusting.

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Over the past six years, a new string of Voter ID laws has been pushed to legislation in 31 states. These laws require voters to show up with a valid ID at the polls. Voter ID laws, along with laws that allow those in the military to vote early, have been under the national spotlight in recent months, despite being practically invisible to the media when they were first proposed. These laws are ever-transforming and some are still being amended—less than a month before the presidential election.

There has been a recent push to delay Voter ID laws in many states until after the November election. It has been argued that this is the work of the Democratic Party’s agenda, because delaying these laws makes voting more accessible to the poor and the elderly; two groups which tend to vote Democrat.

Where are these changes happening and how will you be affected?

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At this point in the presidential race, students like myself do not have time to sift through crooked statistics and tired rhetoric. We have enough of those things on our plate already, considering that we’re reviewing for midterms.

Romney and Obama could have saved us the trouble. Most of the students I spoke with at New York University, which I attend, were already informed about the policy issues addressed during the televised train wreck. And those who were undecided said that they were still thinking through both policies because the debate offered little to them.

“I thought both candidates did an excellent job at talking their way around some key issues,” John Facey, a junior studying creative writing, said.

The candidates were just picking on each other like boys in the school yard. One friend likened Jim Lehrer’s authority to that of a high school substitute teacher: only after the fifth warning did the kids eventually settle down.

And just like almost every American who watched the debate on Wednesday, the student voter population was left scratching their heads once Lehrer finally called it a night.

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I like to think that voting is a trendy thing for young Americans. We see it as a rite of passage and a chance to impact the world. I like to think that come November 4th, some of us make it a point to show off our ‘I Voted’ sticker, like it’s the status symbol for the concerned citizen. But in reality, voting isn’t that easy when you’ve never done it before and it takes a lot of responsibility to be informed enough to make an educated voting decision.

Rock the Vote is a nonprofit that focuses on trying to engage young people in the political process. One of their main objectives: getting young people to vote. In 2008, the organization was at a new peak. The advancement of technology which promoted voting, an overall desire for reform in the White House, and an increase in the amount of celebrity candidate endorsements, all of this led to one of the highest youth voter turnouts in American history.

This year is different. After four years of promise, some young people are not seeing change.

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