On November 6th, the Virgin Islands(VI), like any state, citizens head out to vote. However unlike other states Virgin Island citizens do not vote for the next president, but instead candidates for seats in the local Senate and governor/lieutenant governor.
“I vote because I want to take advantage of the opportunity given to me since we don’t have it back home,” said junior creative writing major Jordan Forney. “We are a part of the U.S. even as a territory so decisions made still affect us.”
Despite being a part of the United States, VI residents are not able to vote for the next president because they are a territory and lack statehood status. VI students at Seton Hill University (SHU) value the importance of voting since it is their chance to let their voices be heard.
Keisha Jimmerson, director of intercultural activities at SHU worked in collaboration with Kevin Bhar, a student volunteer at the campaign headquarter in Greensburg, PA to allow VI students to vote.
Letters were written for VI students giving proof of residency for Greensburg, which were then mailed off. Students then received substitute-voting cards in the forms of letters with their voting number to be used as voting cards.
“It’s important all US citizens vote because the decisions made impact them, and as SHU students we train students to be responsible citizens,” said Jimmerson. “To be a responsible citizen we have to exercise our right to vote because too many people have suffered and died for us to have the right.”
According to Jimmerson, she is proud to help students of the Virgin Islands take advantage of the opportunity given to them to make a difference and hopes to continue helping future VI students exercise their right to vote like other U.S citizens.
“I vote not only because it is an opportunity we don’t have back home, but because I want to make a difference,” said Vernicia Rogers, a senior VI SHU student and English major. “This election is important because the decisions made will affect me and it is important I stand up and support the candidate who portrays my future is best in their hands.”