By Nathaniel Bott
Ann Arbor native and MSU senior Joseph Titus, 21, goes about his busy day with no time to think about politics. He takes his studies and homework to the MSU library or Union, takes to the gridiron in intramural football leagues and plays beer pong with his roommates while tailgating a Spartan football game.
According to Circle statistics, an organization that examines youth voting in the United States, Titus is also among the 49.6 percent of people in the state of Michigan from ages 18-29 who didn’t vote in the 2012 presidential election. Only 14.8 percent of people ages 18-29 voted in the 2014 midterm, and Titus wasn’t one of them either.
As far as Titus knows, His parents and his 25-year-old sister don’t vote. Titus has never voted in his life either. He hasn’t even registered, or really even thought about it.
“Growing up, my parents always complained about the governor or mayor or whoever it was,” Titus said. “They said it didn’t matter who was in control or in office. So when I was 18, I didn’t even care. Honestly, I didn’t even know you had to register. I thought it was just once you turn 18 you can go do it.”
Titus grew up in an Ann Arbor apartment with his parents before their divorce when he was 12, and he stayed in Ann Arbor for most of his life. He attended public schools in the area and Ann Arbor Skyline before his enrollment at MSU. He chalks up his reasoning for not registering to his parents never partaking in the right to vote.
“The only candidate they ever really liked was (Barack) Obama, but they still didn’t vote for him,” Titus joked. “I think they just liked him because he was black.”
Now in college, Titus has a schedule that could make another MSU student cringe. Classes at 8 a.m. from Monday through Thursday, with intermediate breaks up until 4 p.m.,where he goes home, showers, eats and heads off the East neighborhood to work a 6 p.m. to midnight shift at the Holmes front desk. Any spare time he has, he uses to study or keep his social life intact.
“Yeah, the lack of time definitely has something to do with it,” Titus said. “I’m a hospitality business major with no car up here and I’m working a front desk job, man. I’m either spending my time in class, studying, working, or walking home.”
After discussing the issue, Titus said he would look into the voter registration guidelines for Michigan and possibly registering to vote, even in this upcoming presidential election. Based on the conversation, he seemed to have a decent amount of knowledge about this year’s race, as he said he learned a lot about each candidate’s policies and pasts from social media links or eavesdropping on CNN as it played in the background at his work or house.
“I mean, I never really thought about it before but yeah I would like to,” Titus said. “It would feel good to go be a part of something that kinda decides who runs the country and what not. I don’t particularly like either of the options but anyone would be better than Trump, even me.”