Unconvinced and Underwhelmed, MSU Student Plans Not To Vote In Upcoming Election

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McKenna Kiiskila, 21, plans not to register or vote in the upcoming election.

Isaac Constans

McKenna Kiiskila, 21, plans not to register or vote in the upcoming election.

East Lansing, Mich.– Michigan State hospitality business junior McKenna Kiiskila plans to vote in the future, just not yet. For her, this presidential election is certainly not worth breaking the seal over.

“To be completely honest, I just didn’t side with either candidate, so I figured better to stay neutral,” Kiiskila, a 21-year-old from Romeo, Michigan, said. “Neither have my vote, so I don’t want to vote for either.”

Kiiskila said she’s not politically minded, and she isn’t “dialed in” to a lot of political occurrences at the smaller scale. As this is the first presidential election that Kiiskila is eligible to participate in, it’s the first time that she has considered registering or voting. She politely declined both options.

The only issues that Kiiskila pays attention to are the ones on the national scale, but she doesn’t believe either presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, has a good understanding of what she cares about.

“What happens outside of the U.S. is what scares a lot of people, especially as they get older and start applying for jobs,” Kiiskila said, including herself in the category of those who identify “diplomacy” as their principal concern.

Of the population whom Kiiskila referred to, only 48.5 percent in Michigan, categorized as those 18 to 29 years old, voted in the 2012 presidential election, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. About 65 percent of young people in Michigan were registered.

“Even when I was younger, I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like my voice really matters,’” Kiiskila said, adding that she thought candidates could do a better job of taking an interest in the issues of a younger population.

And while Kiiskila understands voting as her civic duty and obligation, it’s not something she enjoys dwelling on. She instead prefers to stay active working at the MSU Dairy Store, playing sports or doing service work as a part of her national honors fraternity.

Kiiskila’s family is also not flush with political fervor. Although she has three older siblings, she only knows of her sister who plans to vote.

“My parents kind of persuaded me to (register), but I think they kind of just figured I was independent enough to figure it out on my own,” Kiiskila said. “And I think I never just put the time in. I never was really reached out to by anyone.”

Kiiskila does not see the point in going out of her way to register if she does not plan to cast a ballot.

“I know they have stuff on campus that can make it easier to vote. I just don’t know what it is,” Kiiskila said.

Kiiskila feels bad about not voting, but she does not heap the blame on herself. She has actively tried to get more involved, one time signing up for a Rock the Vote event, but she feels that the candidates haven’t reciprocated her interest.

Because of feelings of disenchantment and disconnect, Kiiskila won’t be checking off a name for at least another four years.
“With the candidates this year, I’m like, ‘You know, what’s going on?’” Kiiskila said. “A lot of people do register to vote… Some people just don’t, like me. You know, you don’t really grasp at it.”

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