A common thought among students might be that their vote won’t count, but in Payne County and other parts of Oklahoma, that is just false.
According to Forbes, the voter rate among college students more than doubled from 2014-2018, (19% to 40%).
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Students for Bernie club will set up table outside of the Student Union to campaign for their candidate and register as many people to vote as possible.
JD Barnes, the club president, said not only is it important for young people to start expressing themselves more in the ballot box, but young people are also highly underrepresented by the current governing and political institutions as an interest group.
“We have a lot of specific issues and needs that need to be addressed, as a block, student debt is a massive issue,” Barnes said. “It’s going to hold people down from participating as fully in the economy as we want them to.”
Barnes said primaries are the best way to express your opinions.
“If you’re a democrat or independent in Oklahoma, our primaries are, in many ways, the greatest expression of whatever it is that you think,” Barnes said. “Even though your vote won’t really be represented by our electors, you can have an impact on how the competition ultimately shakes out and who your candidate is in the general election.”
Luke McIntyre, a junior marketing major, said he’s registered to vote in Texas but doesn’t know if voting matters as much in Oklahoma.
“I think Texas is starting to be a little more even than Oklahoma, but in Oklahoma, probably not so much,” McIntyre said.
Luke’s friend and classmate Brandon Brewster* is also registered to vote in Texas. Brewster had a different take on voting and its importance in Oklahoma.
“I mean I feel like if you have something to say and you feel like you’re just wanting to be heard, then definitely register to vote, you never know which way it will sway.”
Freshman Maya Gould is registered to vote in Tulsa.
“Voting is a lot of people’s only chance to reassure their voice is heard,” Gould said.
Oklahoma votes on Super Tuesday (March 3) along with 13 other states. Deadline to register for the primary is Feb. 7.
*Name has been changed as requested by interviewee