The 2016 Presidential Election is Tuesday, and ETSU students are in the middle of deciding who the next president should be.
ETSU Votes, a program devised as part of the larger “SoCon Votes” initiative, has been encouraging students to register to vote, especially for early voting, for the better part of the fall semester. Carla Warner, the director of ETSU Votes, said that as of Oct. 17, ETSU had registered over 500 students.
Local Republican and Democratic representatives and groups on campus, such as the ETSU Conservative Coalition and College Democrats, have been encouraging students to vote.
“There is a lot at stake in every election, but especially this one as our country is faced with two very different paths forward,” said Republican Congressman Phil Roe. “I encourage every young person to take the time to research where the candidates stand on issues important to them and go to the polls on Tuesday.”
ETSU plans to have classes on election day, but many took the opportunity to vote early.
“It’s very important for college students to go out and vote,” said Lori Love, the District 4 Tennessee Delegate for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “In Sullivan County, less than 25 percent of college students went out and voted in the primaries. They can’t just leave it to the older people to vote, because they’re not going to be around forever and college students are the future.”
Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee, is an American businessman and the president of The Trump Organization. Many of the students that are voting this election have chosen their preferred candidate based in reaction to the flaws of the other candidates running.
“I’m voting for Donald Trump because he’s not a criminal whose ultimate goal is to globalize America to the benefit of special interest groups like Hillary,” said Cody Cornelius, a digital media major at ETSU.
The Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, served as a U.S. Senator and the Secretary of State. She is also the wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
“I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because of her policies, but more for the fact that I cannot vote for Trump,” said Brenna Smith, an English major. “His treatment of women and his views of women are not what represent our country. Our country is known for our openness and acceptance of all. Trump’s view, in my opinion, do not reflect this. Although I do have hesitations about Hillary, I do feel that she is overall a better representation of our country’s values and ways.”
There are also a handful of third party candidates running for president this year, including Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico.
“I’m voting for Johnson,” said Sydney Rogers, a mass communication major. “I’m choosing him, because when I was looking through his policies, I agreed with [them] a lot more. His policies fit [my] moral belief more than the main candidates. I think he could really help our country.”
The closest location for students that have their residency established at ETSU is the Millennium Centre located at 1216 W. State of Franklin. Students will need to bring some sort of photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport or military photo ID. College student IDs will not be accepted.
Polls are open on Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.