In an interview with 91.7 WSUM News that aired at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the importance of the UW-Madison student vote.
In the interview with the student radio station’s News Director Jessica Gregory, Warren discussed Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s plans for higher education, including his goal to increase access for low-income students and students of color, the importance of student voter turnout and what is at stake this presidential election.
Warren discussed how forgiving student loan debts and making public colleges and universities tuition-free are priorities for both Biden and Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. They also plan to increase funding for historically Black colleges and universities and minority serving institutions so that they can also be tuition-free, and to expand the Pell Grant program, which includes the federal grants dedicated to students that demonstrate financial need.
Warren highlighted how increased access to education is something that “all of us [Americans] should want to invest in.”
Warren also hopes to increase voter turnout among UW-Madison students, despite increased obstacles to voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I'm going to vote in-person tomorrow. You want to take precaution and wear a mask but it's as safe as going to the grocery store,” Warren said. “It's also a part of what we do as American citizens. It's a part of supporting our democracy."
For many college students, this will be their first time voting. Warren discussed her first time voting experience when she was a young mother, and how her own mother played a critical role in shaping her positive attitude towards voting.
“I grew up with my mother being a poll worker on election days and a reminder that voting was something we believed that everybody should do,” said Warren. “One of the things that bothers me the most about where we are right now is that Donald Trump and the Republicans are trying to keep people from voting; they are trying to scare people.”
Last month, Warren visited Wisconsin to campaign for Biden where she emphasized the importance of voter turnout in the state, not just for the presidential election, but also in the state and local races.
“Especially in Wisconsin, you are an important part of the presidential race,” Warren said.
Warren stressed the importance of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in addition to a Biden presidency as necessary to adequately address contemporary issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, universal access to healthcare, tuition-free colleges, decreased student loan debt and the climate crisis.
“The things that are on the ballot, the things that will be decided in this election are so critical; it's literally, for some people, going to turn out to be a matter of life and death,” said Warren while citing the record-breaking Covid cases across the state and country under President Trump’s leadership, as well as his healthcare plan.
Sen. Warren also stressed the importance of ensuring everyone has a chance to vote and get their ballot counted.
Amid national worries about when to expect election results, Senator Warren cited that voting early, voting absentee and differing voting opportunities in each state “will contribute to why extra patience may be required to get the results on Election Day,” but that the patience is necessary because counting everyone’s vote “is what a democracy is all about.”
Finally, Sen. Warren left listeners with a simple message: Vote.
And, if you already voted, help ensure others vote too in order to make “a real difference.”
“If 100 percent of young people voted, then there’s a lot that we would change in this country,” Warren said. “So, we’re counting on you. America is counting on college students, on young people to get out and vote. We need you out there. Please vote.”