Do you vote in every election? Why or why not?
I voted for the primaries. I'm not sure whether if I'll be voting in every election because I still have yet to do my research. If I’m going to vote for someone, I need to know exactly what their ideas are for this country. The media is biased, and I want to find out for myself what is and what is not true.
What makes you want to vote?
I want to be part of something big, have some kind of impact in this country. I want to advocate for the things that are important for me, and voting for a candidate that agrees with majority of my values will get my vote. Advocating for the LGTBQ community, immigrant rights, affordable college tuition, and gun control are all very important to me. I want to vote for candidates who support issues that are more relevant to me.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when it comes to voting? What prevents you from voting?
Besides not having the sufficient knowledge on each candidate's proposals, I don’t think there are any challenges preventing me from voting. Voting needs to be more accessible. It seems to me that millennials are not informed about candidates and their policies, or just don't seem to care. Maybe if politics was integrated more in social media young people would be more aware and participate more.
Did you know that our country has one of the lowest voting percentage in the world? What do you think when you hear that?
Perhaps there’s a low percentage of people who vote because they’re simply too distracted with their own lives. Maybe a lot of people are not voting because they do not have the sufficient knowledge on a candidate's proposals. They feel like they need to be more informed before voting for a candidate. A couple of things that can be done to encourage people to vote are people going to high schools or public schools and encourage people of all ages to vote.
What would make people more likely to vote?
I think people would start voting more if they realize how the enforcement of policies can affect their lives and their loved ones. You could probably persuade people to vote if you talk to them on a personal level about their own important values. Government incentives can be a good idea, but my question is where would the money be coming from to fund this? I just feel like it’s going to lead the country more in debt.
Biviana is a college student at Stonybrook University. She spoke with SparkAction's intern Dina Atwa in August 2016. Bonnie Bee, SparkAction's content & engagement strategist, edited the interview.