ELECTION 2018: Claflin voter efforts succeed, freshman says

Nov 02, 2018

As the 2018 midterm elections approach, several students have found themselves in the midst of their first major voting opportunity and, without much guidance away from home, navigate it in unique ways.

Folade Oyewole, freshman mass communications major from Seabrook, S.C., recognizes the importance of voting but admits she initially had no intentions of doing so before a voter registration event in the University Dining Center held by the NAACP and SGA.

“I’m going to vote. It was a last-minute decision, only because of the people in the cafeteria. … It was strongly suggested and I was like ‘All right, I guess I’m voting.’ I even got my mom to vote because she usually doesn’t vote and that’s why I don’t vote,” Oyewole said.

Oyewole finds voting in this election so critical because it is an opportunity to “get those bad people out of power.” She refers to the election of President Donald Trump as an example of what can happen if you give power to the wrong person.

News of voter suppression in 2018 and the politicians enabling it also play a role in Oyewole’s decision to vote.

“[Voter suppression] is against the Constitution. What are you doing? If you can’t follow the Constitution, we’re just out of luck. I don’t understand why someone would do that.”

Voter suppression has become a prominent issue in this midterm elections, specifically in Georgia where Brian Kemp, gubernatorial candidate, has overseen the purging of over a million voters in the last two years, with 80 percent of those in 2018 being black.

“It’s just an awful thing to do, especially for people who have fought so hard to get the right to vote. Women, black people, they fought really hard to vote. Why would you deny them that opportunity when it’s just basic human rights?”

Oyewolde credits Claflin University for its efforts to encourage students to be active politically.

“I do appreciate Claflin for trying to push it but not being shovey about it. I was aware of the [midterm elections], but I just thought the presidential election was the big election. Now that I’m here in college, they’re saying you do have to look out for these other elections and you do need to vote.”

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