Students weigh in on candidate preferences, voter registration

By Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter

This November, Baylor University students will join millions of Americans to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

Although Baylor is located in the predominately red state of Texas, there is still diversity evident in students’ political opinions.

Palm Springs, Calif., junior Hannah Bogue believes Hillary Clinton should be the next president of the United States for a variety of reasons.

“Not just because I am a woman, but that as well. I think it’s super empowering,” Bogue said.

On the other hand, Aneheim Hills, Calif., sophomore Lili Gonzalez will not be voting for the Democratic nominee.

“I don’t trust the Democratic Party at the moment,” Gonzalez said. “Someone who has come under FBI investigation should not be able to stand there as a major party’s nominee running for president.”

This election has become highly partisan, with people on both extreme sides of the political spectrum vying for the spotlight amid strong opinions and campaign scandals.

“I think it’s a big overcorrection from this current administration,” Gonzalez said. “Both parties are not happy with the way this administration went, so both try to over correct that, and I think it went in very extreme directions.”

Due to the radical natures of the Democratic and Republican candidates, many moderates have been left feeling indecisive. Some even feel wary to vote in this election at all, and this is true for Paramount, Calif., junior Ejay Mallard.

“My current stance is kind of wavering. Not wavering in the sense of saying, like, I don’t know who to vote for ,but in the sense of am I voting, period,” Mallard said.

According to the Pew Research Center website, over 57.6 million people voted in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary elections. However, with 2016 even fewer options for candidates on the ballot than in the primaries, some are turning to alternative options and choosing to vote outside the two part system, such as Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

“Once the two candidates came down to who I considered to be a demagogue and one who is completely untrustworthy with us, Johnson just became the defacto choice for me,” Stevens Point, Wis. junior Sean Cordy said.

Because a lot of citizens are on the fence about who to vote for president, especially the millennial generation, Baylor NAACP felt the need to make voter registration a priority. This Monday, NAACP hosted a campuswide voter registration block party event. Students were presented with a convenient way to register to vote in McLennan County as the event took place on Fountain Mall. NAACP provided free food, music, the Pokey O’s truck and inflatables for students to enjoy while also being active citizens planning to voice their opinions in the upcoming general election.

Photo credit: Timothy Hong

Although this event offered a simple method of registering to vote, some students would rather register in their hometown in order to have more of an effect electorally in their state. Both Bogue and Gonzalez did not register in Texas and will be voting in their home state of California in hopes of making a difference in the state electorally.

For some Baylor students, this will be the first presidential election they are eligible to vote in. However, the polarized nature of this election has raised questions about voter turnout this November.

As the election cycle continues to progress, citizens will have an opportunity to voice their opinions through November’s ballot. However, with the constant press coverage of the election, the political conversation will likely continue on the Baylor campus.