By Kenisha Prendegast
CCC Journalism Program

Many college-age students express a lack of interest in voting in this year’s presidential election, saying the issues the candidates are discussing do not relate to them.

Political activist Tim Petarra displays his “free speech wall” on the Camden County College Blackwood campus. By Kenisha Prendegast, CCC Journalism Program

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voters between age 18 and 24 have voted at lower rates than all other age groups in every presidential election from 1964 to 2012.

At age 24, Camden County College student Brian Woods has yet to register to vote and will not cast a ballot in the Nov. 8 election.

“I don’t think the candidates are worthy enough. The debates are more entertaining than informative,” Woods said. “We need first-hand support. They need to tackle our issues, like tuition, housing and even jobs.”

Camden County College student Kathy Valestil, 25, said her parents encouraged her to vote because they believe many fought and died for that right and it should be exercised. She said voting is a responsibility.

“Up until this point I am indecisive, but I will vote,” Valestil said.

Many college-age students are not aware of political ideologies, said political activist Tim Petarra, who brought his “free speech wall” to the Camden County College Blackwood campus Oct. 18. Petarra encouraged students to exercise their First Amendment rights by writing on the wall.

Many young voters favor the policies of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost in the Democratic primaries to Hillary Clinton. Sanders has since endorsed Clinton in her campaign against Republican Donald Trump.

Polls conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics found he was the most popular candidate for Americans age 18 to 29. “Millennials care deeply about their futures and in this election cycle they are laser-focused on issues like access to educational opportunity, women’s equality and the economy,” Institute Director Maggie Williams stated.

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