On Nov. 5, 2018, Student Government Association (SGA) President Rishi Shah and Senate Secretary Alyssa Futa signed a proclamation into effect. The purpose of this proclamation was simple: to encourage Seton Hall University students to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
Futa, a sophomore Diplomacy and International Relations and Modern Languages major, said via email that, “I signed this proclamation because I really believe that voting is a part of an individual’s civic duty. I believe that it is important to make an educated decision about who is going to be leading … By signing this proclamation, I hoped to voice this opinion and encourage my constituents and the student population to exercise their right to vote.”
College-age people are notorious for not voting, especially in midterm elections.
The proclamation even states that “87% of voters aged 18-24 do not vote in midterm elections … [but] it is our civic duty to exercise this privilege.”
The proclamation also affirms that the 2018 midterm election “will yield a record number of young and minority candidates”, including candidates such as Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative-elect Ilhan Omar, and Representative-elect Sharice Davids, among others.
The importance of voting is an idea that seems to be shared throughout the SGA.
“It [the proclamation] is highlighting the importance of voting, something which is integral to the survival of our democracy,” SGA Diplomacy Senator Jacob Abel, a junior Diplomacy and International Relations major said via email.
Shah, a junior Finance, Management and Philosophy major, said, “Voting to me [encompasses] the true idea of our democracy in America. As a first generation student coming from an immigrant family, having a say in the affairs of this country speaks truth to the privilege we have in this country.”
However, despite good intentions, not every Seton Hall student was able to vote in this recent election.
Hanna Wargula, a Senior Diplomacy and International Relations major, shared her story via email. “I had every intention of voting and submitted my absentee application on time with much anticipation. However, I did not get my ballot until Election Day while New York law says the completed ballot must be postmarked by the day before. So, my vote was not able to count and I was heartbroken.”
Wargula adds that “[v]oting is important to me because I consider it a privilege to have the right to freely vote. Especially seeing recent voter suppression, I have become more motivation to exercise my right.”
While not everyone was able to vote in this election, the SGA’s message remains clear: every person’s voice matters and the decision to vote, or not to vote, affects everyone.
Marie Leone can be reached at email@example.com.