To vote or not to vote

Students and staff speak about the 2020 presidential election

By Kayla Canterbury

            With early voting in Ohio starting on Oct. 6, it is now crunch-time for the presidential candidates. While some individuals have already hit the polls to cast their votes, there are others who have yet to vote, perhaps because they are waiting until Nov. 4 or they aren’t sure who they are casting their vote for. For those undecided, they have more opportunities to see what the candidates’ views and opinions are by watching debates and town halls.

            However, for those who have already made up their minds, these debates are not helpful. In an email interview, political science professor Dr. Robert Postic stated that “debates rarely (if ever) are game changers.” In his view, there was no winner at the first presidential debate. He believes it was a draw, as neither candidate “changed anyone’s minds on how to vote.”

            Postic believes that both candidates have their weaknesses. He said that at this point, there is little that Biden or Trump could say that would change someone’s mind about who they are voting for.

            Two issue he feels people will focus on is the current pandemic and the economy, as those things are relevant and interrelated.

            UF junior Samantha Szpak and UF senior Bailey Rader both agree that social issues are top of mind for voters.

            “I think we have a lot, a lot of social issues that need to be addressed,” Szpak said. “Like racism, women’s rights, gay rights, and that sort of stuff. Immigration.”

            Rader feels the same as Szpak about women’s rights.

            “I’m a woman, I should have my own rights,” Rader said when talking about birth control. “The biggest thing I feel that’s going on right now is abortion. Personally, I’m pro-choice,” she said. On these types of issues, both students lean more toward the liberal side, but said their families don’t feel the same.

            “My parents are very republican, very conservative. They really like Trump. I can’t even talk to my parents about most of this stuff because we’re just too opposing and it’s not productive,” Szpak said.

            Postic said that traditionally he has seen that younger generations, such as college students, have been more liberal and more attracted to socialism or democratic socialism. Older generations, traditionally, tend to lean towards the conservative side. Rader believes this is the case in Ohio, but this may not particularly be true in other parts of the country.

            Postic offered some advice for people not voting in the 2020 election.

            “If you don’t feel you can cast a vote for one of the candidates, then don’t vote,” he said.

He practices what he preaches—he didn’t vote in the 2016 election. By not voting, he expressed how he felt about the candidates. He gives an alternative option of voting for a third-party candidate.

Postic also believes that even if people support one candidate, there will be times when that candidate will disappoint. That is just the reality of politics.

            For those voting in the election, Postic encourages them to rank the issues that are most important to them and vote for the candidate who best represents their views.

            “I can almost guarantee that, on the issues that matter most to individuals, there are clear choices,” he said. “Personally, I think the American public should be considering how they want their president to act as much as what actions they want him to take.”

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