Shepherd student voting does exist
On any given day in Shepherdstown, one is bound to run into someone who is affiliated with Shepherd University in one way or another. Either they are taking classes at the school, working there or simply visiting on a tour. With the university’s on-campus population nearly triple the actual town’s population, this certainly is not surprising. Since the recent annexation of west campus, more of these students are now eligible to be considered actual Shepherdstown residents. From a political standpoint, this could highly influence local elections for entities like the city council. That is, if students know they can vote here.
“To be honest, I don’t know if I can register here,” said Macie Almand, a resident of Birch apartments on Shepherd campus. “I don’t know if my dorm counts.”
Almand, like several students on campus, is not aware that she can vote in the local Shepherdstown elections as well as be registered to vote in general with her west campus address.
According to a Chronicle report in December 2009, all 11-west campus dorms were annexed and residents “can be considered Shepherdstown residents.” This annexation allowed for over 600 students to potentially register as Shepherdstown residents, but would knowledge of this encourage students to register? Some student residents would.
“I’m registered back home, but I would like to vote here (in Shepherdstown),” claimed Yost Hall resident Taylor Coplin. “The local politics could be interesting with college students getting more involved.” However, when asked about the voting habits of students on campus, Coplin had a different story.
“I doubt many students vote here, there is a lot of political apathy.”
With voter turnout at a national low, and very low for Jefferson County in general, student apathy toward voting could be at an unfortunate high. This attitude is expected in an off-election year, and could potentially be rejuvenated with the hotly contested 2012 election coming up this November. Students like Brent Francis, a resident assistant in the Shepherd apartments, hopes to see a better turnout.
“Its important to vote, and a right that students should express more,” Francis claimed. Francis is a political science major and hopes to run for political office one day. “Hopefully the election in 2012 will bring out more voters.”
Student voting habits seem to differ and may hinge on the knowledge of how to register and where a student can register. One thing is true; students could have a large impact on the political makeup of Shepherdstown if they so choose.