Ask most any student this year and they’ll tell you there’s a lot at stake in the 2020 presidential election. Climate change. Social and racial inequities. A pandemic that has already claimed the lives of 215,000 Americans. The future of the Supreme Court. But the big question—with just two and a half weeks to Election Day—is: will young voters actually vote? According to the US Census Bureau, fewer than half of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 (46.1 percent) voted in the 2016 presidential election, compared with 70.9 percent of those 65 and older, 66.6 percent of 45- to 64-year-olds, and 58.7 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds. Young voters typically turn out in low numbers, and this recent New York Times story explains some of the reasons why.
But two BU students, Belize Combs (CGS’20, CAS’22) and Suwilanji Muwowo (CAS’23), are working to change that this year. Both are currently interns with MASSPIRG, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, student-directed public interest advocacy group working to promote civic engagement on college campuses throughout the commonwealth. They talk about why it’s so important for students to cast their ballot, regardless of their candidate preference.
“You have to make sure that you’re putting what you’re saying into action,” says Muwowo. “All of us need to get involved.”