Forum engages young voters in upcoming general election
By Justin Dolan
photo by Tommy Yang
Jay Heck and mayor Justin Nickels talk about
the impact of voter power at the Your Future,
Your Vote discussion in the union Sept. 19.
A special discussion about the importance of civic engagement and staying informed on campaign issues was held in the student union as part of the campus' Constitution Week celebration Sept. 19.
George Waller, senior lecturer of political science, moderated the chat with Manitowoc mayor Justin Nickels and Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, a nonpartisan, not-for profit citizen's lobby.
Nickels began his remarks by asking why it is important to vote.
"Anything that happens in government affects each and every one of us individually," Nickels said.
Since Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan was named the Republican vice-presidential candidate, both parties have "flooded into Wisconsin", according to Heck.
He noted the presence of Ryan would put the state very much at play with the electorate.
"This election is expected to be much closer at the national level," Heck said.
Sophomore David Cruickshank attended the panel after hearing that mayor Nickels would be one of the speakers.
"I thought it was very informative," Cruickshank said.
"As the mayor [Nickels] said, we have people power, whether it's the wealthy person or the college student, we have equal power in the voice of government."
Heck also spoke about the importance of voting.
"I think it's important to make the process of voting and participating as simple as possible."
Heck also suggested that voting rights should be guaranteed at birth and that the age of participation could be lowered.
"Decisions that are made in Madison affect people who are sixteen as well as sixty," Heck said.