Why Voting Matters at Kent State

There was a time in American history where college students were not allowed to voice political opinions, but they could serve in the military. During the Vietnam War, no one under the age of 21 voted, yet 61 percent of men killed in Vietnam were under that age. Our former Kent State students protested; the youth were dying in a war they did not want. The voting age was reduced to the age of 18 after the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four Kent State students and wounded nine others. The death of students on American soil was an injustice that rang across the nation.

In legacy of these brave students, we have the chance to pave our own future.

2020 was the first time Millennials and Gen Z were the largest share of eligible voters. College students and young adults have the chance to demand change in their community and reimagine their future, but low voter turnout stiffens our voice. College students report feeling uninformed during election cycles and miss important deadlines to register. There is also a belief that a single voice does not matter.

But a single voice does matter; a change is created when one individual says what the group was thinking. Your community only reflects the opinions that it hears and cannot change what is held in silence. It is time for college students to fight for the issues they find important and vote for legislators that echo their aspirations.

The Kent State Votes initiative promises to challenge barriers that restrict Kent State students from participating in their local, state-wide and federal elections. Its goal is to remove these obstacles so students are enthusiastic and confident in their political participation.

Our community protested and died for the right to vote. It is time for our vote to uphold the legacy of our community. Your community. Your future. Your vote.