On Tuesday, Nov. 2, those who are registered to vote in Blacksburg will have the opportunity to vote for a member of the House of Representatives for the 9th District.
The candidates are Democratic incumbent Rick Boucher, Republican Morgan Griffith and Independent Jeremiah Heaton.
College students could play a pivotal part in the political process, although voter turnout during non-presidential elections is almost always lower than presidential elections.
Both the College Republicans and the Young Democrats at Virginia Tech have organized voter registration drives to get students registered to vote and interested in candidates.
Students who are registered to vote in their hometowns may vote by absentee ballot, although it is easy for college students to register to vote in Blacksburg, even if they do not claim Blacksburg as their permanent residence.
Lexy Rusnack, the chair for the College Republicans at Tech, has been surprised by the amount in interest that students have shown in this specific election.
“There is a decent size pool of people interested this year, which is surprising,” she said.
Rusnack said she believes college students need to be involved in the elections, even if they don’t consider the current election an important one.
“Our Congressman will represent the campus, they can decide that funding is important or it isn’t,” Rusnack said.
The lack of interest among college students could come from the fact that candidates haven’t reached out to students.
“Young people participate in elections when they are asked,” said Craig Brians, associate professor of political science. “They don’t always take the initative to get out and vote.
“I don’t really see students around campus supporting candidates for this election,” he said.
“Politics influence every single aspect of our lives. Students need to be aware of the issues,” said Nicole Faut, president of the Young Democrats at Tech.
“It is important for students to understand where decisions come from and how these decisions affect them,” she said.
Both Faut and Rusnack said students should do their research and understand the issues before they head to vote on Nov. 2.
“Just looking at the polls isn’t the best way to prepare,” Rusnack said.
George Bacon, a junior, plans to vote absentee ballot.
“I want to vote for local issues,” Bacon said. “It’s important for college students to have a say in all levels of government.”