On Tuesday, November 4 there is a huge election that will impact college students all across Alabama. But it isn’t a presidential election, and the lack of high-profile candidates is causing college students to wonder why they should take the trip to the polls on Tuesday.
In fact, the popular youth-vote movement ‘Rock the Vote’ has created an advertising campaign to try and get college students and young voters to turn out on Election Day. The catchy campaign features Lil Jon in a cover of his hit song “Turn Down for What” and is titled “Turn Out for What” (yep, go look it up).
This video got me thinking: why should students turnout to vote? As always, I’m here to explain why voting on Tuesday could literally make or break you as a college student in Alabama.
Because it is a state election, the majority of contested offices are in the Alabama Legislature where the decisions our lawmakers make can affect our lives as college students. The most obvious way this election can impact us is in our wallets and purses, through the Education Budget, which funds colleges in Alabama.
At JSU, the appropriation from the state’s education budget is about one-third of the University’s total budget and sets the foundation of how the University makes decisions on tuition and fees. Therefore, anytime there is a cut in state funding, the loss is usually offset by an increase in tuition.
This is why college students must turnout to vote on Tuesday for pro-public education candidates. Candidates who support funding higher education, candidates who have ideas about how to increase the Education Trust Fund budget (like supporting an education lottery), and candidates who understand how valuable public universities like JSU are to Alabama’s economy.
Jacksonville State employs around 1,000 individuals; meaning that 1,000 families depend upon JSU’s share of state funding. Jacksonville State also graduates about 2,000 students every year. That’s 2,000 students in Alabama who will make double or triple what they would make without their education, thus contributing twice as much to Alabama’s economy.
So, when you find yourself singing Lil Jon’s tune “Turn Down for What” (and I know you will) I hope you’ll remember not to “turn down” your right to vote this election cycle. You have an opportunity on Tuesday to elect candidates that will make decisions that will affect your life for the next four years.
Turn Out for What? Turn out to increase education funding, keep tuition low, and grow Alabama’s economy. Your decision to stay at home and watch Netflix instead of exercise your right to vote could make or break your future in Alabama. Turn out for You!