Le Moyne Students Share Their Voting Experiences

Laura Coogan, Staff Writer

The 2020 presidential election has shown historic voter turnout among young people due to what may be the most polarized political landscape in the country’s history. A factor playing into this polarization is the use of social media, which creates echo chambers for political opinion on both sides of the spectrum. In order to assess how students at Le Moyne College voted, what factors they based their decision on, and to what degree the experience was positive or empowering, this article compiles the stories of college students and their involvement in the 2020 election.

Adrianna Ladd, a junior at Le Moyne College, voted in her first general election in person this year.

“I drove about 40 minutes home to vote after my class on Tuesday,” said Ladd. “It was definitely something that I recognized as a task that I had to complete, but I was also excited to have the opportunity to vote.”

She went on to describe how she saw other students becoming more engaged in political discourse. “I definitely saw a lot of students active on social media, voicing their opinions and emphasizing the importance of voting. As far as how many actually voted, I’m not sure. I assume that most of the people active on social media also voted.”

Morgan Knapp, a junior psychology major, further discussed social media as a form of activism.

“Every student from Le Moyne that I follow has posted on social media about registering to vote, and I feel like our campus has done a good job advertising that as well. Every class I had leading up to Tuesday my professors would remind us not to forget to vote. Le Moyne has done a good job. The president emailed us through the Dolphin Digest a couple times to promote voting. They had days where you could go up and register. I’m sure if COVID-19 wasn’t a thing they would also have ways of transporting people to the polls as well.”

Knapp, who expressed that this was her first time voting, went on to say how the experience was empowering for her. “I feel like it’s more empowering to vote now because I keep seeing everyone posting on Instagram and just seeing those stories and knowing that I am able to vote to help people whose voices can’t be heard was empowering.”

Some other students like Luke Petty, also a junior, did not feel as excited about voting in this election.

“I don’t really feel empowered with my vote because it’s just one vote. I know that every vote matters, but I would have really liked to use that vote for a third party candidate. In this country that’s just so unlikely that a third party would actually win. We’re just stuck with two people that both kind of suck, but one of them has to be it.”

He also discussed the importance of voting and the ways he noticed his friends had their voices heard. “The people I know mostly did mail in ballots but some people drove home to go do it in person. But how could anybody forget to vote? If they made it so close to the election without voting or at least registering to vote, then they just don’t care.”

Whether it’s through social media activism, in protests, or at the polls, young people are an incredible force and a crucial part of our democracy. But while the enthusiasm of young voter turnout in this election is commendable, what matters most is that this engagement is maintained in the years to come.

The future is up to college students like those at Le Moyne, and the only way to protect our democracy is to stay informed, stay passionate about issues that matter, and continue to vote for the change we hope to see in our country.