Campus poll a ghost town for elections

According to a poll by The New York Times, the number of 18- to 29-year-olds who reported active interest in the 2008 presidential election increased to 58 percent, up dramatically from 35 percent of young people in the 2004 election.

More and more young people are finding their political voices within the silent, apathetic abyss that has traditionally swallowed up young voters.

The polls here at Saint Louis University boasted a turnout of about 1,000 SLU students for the November presidential election, according to Dean of Students Scott Smith.

But now that the presidential election has come and gone, it seems that students at SLU have begun to lose the political zeal that seized their age bracket only five months ago.

SLU student participation in St. Louis’ recent, local primary and general elections, which elect city officials like the mayor and aldermen, fell far short of November levels.

According to College Democrats President Lauren Khouri, who was largely responsible for making a polling place available to SLU students in the Busch Student Center, only 75 people showed up for the primaries and 80 people for the general election.

True, St. Louis mayoral candidates may not run multimillion-dollar campaigns. They may not have developed intense smear tactics designed to tear down their opponents, vote by vote. They may not be cracking jokes on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno or dancing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to get attention. But, melodrama aside, what St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay does with his term could have a much greater and more immediate effect on SLU students than a new president.

In response to this election’s dismal turnout, Khouri said that she was trying to be optimistic.

So are we. So we’ll offer a positive explanation: Perhaps students simply haven’t realized that they can vote right here at the BSC, so long as they are registered under a SLU MSC address. That would be the best explanation for low turnout, as ignorance can be corrected.

Or is the reason that students don’t consider local politics to be as important as national politics? Perhaps they don’t even know that the newly reelected mayor is a SLU Law school graduate. No matter where you come from, you become a resident of St. Louis when you decide to attend SLU.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again-exercise your right to vote, whether it be on a local or national scale. Let’s prove that the record percentage of younger voter interest in the November election wasn’t simply a one-time fluke.