Students register to vote in Student Union, talk importance of voting


Photographs courtesy of Giang Nguyen

In light of the upcoming local and state elections, students came to the Student Union last week to get registered to vote at a table set up by the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center. Connie Komnick, assistant director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, said the center will typically have events such as the registration table as each election approaches, to encourage students to vote.

    Students will typically ask questions such as where they will vote, or check and see if they are registered, or if they need to change their address, she said.

   “I think (voting) gives them an opportunity to have a voice in the political process,” she said.

   “It’s one of the things that is a privilege that students have as soon as they turn 18, they have that opportunity. It’s a good thing to have that ability to make a difference.”

   Jade Jones, a freshman global studies major, was one of the students manning the registration table.  “Recently, a lot of people in our generation don’t feel like they have any power when they vote,” she said. “As Illinois constituents, I think it’s important to put your vote out, because you live in Illinois. People love to complain, (say) Illinois sucks, but you have a say as a resident or a citizen, to make decisions for governor or for local elections, and I think that’s the most important thing to do. At least you tried.”

     As a student whose hometown is Springfield, Hayley Payne, a freshman clinical lab science major, said the local elections were important to her. “I feel like I need to vote to make a difference,” she said. “Every vote matters-it’ll be the people who represent you.”

    Tailer Banks, a senior computer science major, said he thinks it’s important for younger constituents to vote. “If I could lead by example that will always be a great thing,” he said. While he doesn’t have any specific issues that he is thinking about this election, Banks said he will keep an open mind and see if any come up. Aislinn Diaz, a freshman double major in global studies and political science, registered to get a mail-in ballot.

     Diaz said she wants to vote because she disagrees with current Gov. Bruce Rauner’s thoughts on what should be going on in Illinois, especially when it comes to school funding. “I think it’s important to vote because this is a thing we didn’t always have for women, especially for minorities,” Diaz said. “It’s important to me that everyone uses their vote and their voices. This is a major way everybody gets their voice heard.”

     Her advice for students is to not take voting lightly. “Take it not with a grain of salt, but with literally the whole bag,” she said.