Candidates from Democratic and Republican parties stressed that every vote counts during the Youth Vote broadcast program hosted by Wartburg student media and organizations Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“Politics doesn’t have to be a scary thing, anyone can learn about the political system and issues,” Travis Bockenstedt, adviser of the program said. “We wanted to communicate that anyone can be part of it; any young person can get involved.”
Both Democratic and Republican representatives were present during the broadcast and spoke on topics of education, economy, national and student debt, job creation and gay and lesbian rights.
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The program was hosted by Jacque Schutte and KWWL-TV anchor Ron Steele and shown on The Circuit, WTV and KWWL’s sub channel.
Bockenstedt said sometimes students think that in a democracy, people think one party has a voice and that their voice doesn’t count, but there have been many close elections in past years and every vote counts.
The presidential election has a direct impact on college and high school students because these issues and policies will impact students as adults, Sue Dvorsky, Iowa Democratic Party chair, said.
“Five hundred and thirty seven votes were what separated Al Gore and George Bush in that election, one vote could turn the election,” Dvorsky said.
Iowa high school students, teachers and Wartburg College students participated throughout the program by submitting their questions through and interactive discussions on Facebook and Twitter.
Audience member Kaitlyn Underwood felt it was very informative and was pleased with everyone’s effort and enjoyed having her voice heard.
Torie Jochims, social media coordinator during the show, said, “There were many questions coming from the classrooms like ‘Why can’t the two parties get along?’ and ‘Can you explain what this candidate’s tax plan will do for me?’” Jochims said. “It was very exciting to see.”
Planning started as early as last May when it was brought to KWWL’s attention. Members of Tower Agency helped by providing food and posting signs around campus to direct guests. A special edition of the Trumpet was also sent to over 700 students in area schools.
“It’s really exciting and gratifying to see people coming together for a purpose. I received numerous texts that people had ‘ah-ha’ moments, saying they could now see themselves in TV or whatever field,” Bockenstedt said.
“That’s what education should be about, discovery and overcoming strengths and weaknesses, that’s how people learn best, by doing that.”
Bockenstedt said youth voting is important because when you graduate and get the diploma, all these issues will become a reality.
“Pick a few issues that you feel you really care about and spend some time reading up on it. Look up terms and understand them,” Bockenstedt said. “If you want to have a say in your future, you want to get out and vote.”