Election Day: What it means for college students

Anne Yoskoski, Life Editor

Depending on the result of the 2012 presidential election, policies that impact lives of college students may change.

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have not only differing parties, but differing views on several key issues that affect the college aged population. Depending on who wins the election, many key policies voters feel strongly about will be put in place or stopped.

According to ProCon.org, an organization that takes political candidates and lists their opinions taken from debates and speeches regarding certain topics, there are 75 issues that voters should take into consideration. The issues picked out for this article are specifically related to the college aged voter.

Although it should be taken into consideration that these policies may reflect the ideas and values of their respective political parties rather than the candidates themselves, the candidates individual responses do shed a light on their political leanings and which issues they are willing to fight for.

When it comes to abortion and the question of whether or not it should remain a legal practice in the United States, Obama supports a woman’s right to ownership over her body. As it stands now, Romney is against abortion. Romney has not said what he will do, if anything, to the abortion laws if elected.

The idea of lowering the drinking age to 18 instead of the usual 21 has been floated around, and the results are mixed. Obama is against this, but Romney has not commented either way.

Capital punishment has been debated for decades, and surprisingly, both Obama and Romney are pro death penalty. No matter which man is elected into office, it doesn’t seem as if the death penalty will be debated at all.

The federal deficit, the amount hovering at around $16,266,170,704,733.51, could possibly be lowered by raising taxes. If Obama is re-elected for a second term, there is a great possibility that Americans will have to pay more to cover the government’s debt. Romney is against this, not wanting to raise taxes for anyone. Not raising taxes on anyone includes the 1 percent of wealthiest people in America. Obama has said that these people should be taxed more, and that the Occupy Wall Street movement that they are targeted by was a good thing for Americans, while Romney thinks it is a damaging force.

When it comes to outsourcing jobs to other countries instead of providing our own people with jobs, both men think that this is damaging to the country and the economy.

One of the most important issues to college age students is financial aid in education. When asked if the federal government should increase direct financial aid (loans/grants/debt relief) for college students, Obama has said he is in favor of increasing financial aid. Romney has not stated a clear opinion on this, but the Republican Party has voiced that they do not see this as a major issue. What would happen if a Republican were in office would be based more on the candidate himself rather than the party at large.

One issue that has been especially prevalent in Pennsylvania lately is the voter ID law. Should voters be required to show photo identification in order to vote? Obama says no, and Romney says yes. For college-aged students this should not be an issue, as a college identification card is accepted as a valid form of ID as long as it has an expiration date.

Another issue that has raised a lot of controversy is the March 2012 federal health care reform laws, commonly called “Obamacare.” Obama is still standing behind his policies, but Romney wants to repeal certain aspects of the bill. There are pros and cons to “Obamacare”; one pro being that students can stay on their parent’s health care until they are 26 years old. Romney has voiced no opposition to this. The only part Romney has voiced an issue with publicly is the possible mandate that everyone should be required to have heath care.

Another issue close to many people of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area is immigration. Obama does not believe that local law enforcement should be allowed to enforce federal immigration laws, while Romney supports empowering local law enforcement to apply federal law. Both Romney and Obama support the continued construction of a physical barrier between the U.S. and Mexico. Both men are also in favor of E-Verify, the federal government’s electronic employment verification system as a mandatory procedure for all employers.

The issue of gay marriage and adoption is split between parties. Gay marriage is supported by Obama, but not by Romney. Adoption seems to be unclear for the republicans, as they have made no clear statement through Romney.

Marijuana as a medical option should still be upheld in another Obama term, but possibly repealed if Romney wins.

Requiring mandatory national service in the form of a draft or required civil service is something that comes up in every election. Both candidates are against the draft policy.

Issues of embryonic stem cell research funding by the government also splits the two candidates, Romney not approving and Obama supporting the cause.

Although the two candidates in this year’s election are very different people, they do agree on some things. Many of the issues that are important to college aged students are set to stay in place or be changed, and many students have opinions on that.

President of Wilkes’ College Republicans, Ian Foley said, “It comes down to two different paths, a re-election of President Obama would continue the failed policies of the past four years and our future will be mortgaged to pay for it. A Mitt Romney presidency means we will have a proven job creator, who in his career as a public servant has actually worked across the aisle with members of the other party. “

A local campus democrat, Jennifer Alban said, “Obama should win. He has done well the past four years. People just need to give him more of a chance. Another year and the country will be in a different place.”

Whatever your opinion, no matter what party seems to have better answers, the important thing is to be informed and get to a polling station to cast your vote.