Official ballot drop boxes allow voters easy access to drop off their ballots and cast votes in the 2024 presidential election. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

The race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is underway with less than 6 months until the U.S. election on Nov. 5. The Guardian stated that opinion polls show low approval ratings for Trump based on his abortion stance as well as his ongoing criminal trials. However, Biden has a large majority of U.S. adults (62%) that disapprove of his job performance according to the Pew Research Center. Criticism that the current president faces is due to inflation, immigration, and his handling of the war in Gaza. Americans must choose between the two major-party nominees and in a tight and intense race, all votes count.

“I voted for Trump in the 2016 election because I disliked Hillary Clinton so much,” said Clara Brennan, a 35-year-old Liberal Arts student at KCC. “She was so arrogant, and I just figured Trump would be better than her. I voted for him [Trump] again in 2020 but now I don’t know if I will vote for him because he seems more and more like a threat to the nation.”

Trump is currently 2 points ahead of Biden in the latest national NBC News poll, but a low voter turnout could affect the outcome of the election. According to NBC, voting interest has hit an all-time low in 20 years for the 2024 presidential election. Data collected by the Pew Research Center showed that the largest age group of nonvoters in 2022 were those ages 18-29 (27%), followed by people ages 30-49 (37%).

“Voting for Biden is the best thing an intelligent person can do in America,” said Brandon Ching, a 21-year-old Computer Science student at KCC. “It feels like many Gen Z people like Trump because he’s a meme or he’s so outlandish, and it’s pathetic. Unfortunately, these are the people I know who vote. This determines the outcome of our future and the future of America so it makes me ridiculously mad to see people from my generation making a joke out of it.”

Gen Z’s upbringing included a surplus of school shootings, climate change, abortion rights, and a global pandemic. In 2026, Gen Z will become the first generation to be majority nonwhite. The New York Times stated that only 46% of registered voters ages 18-29 actually voted in 2020.

In 2022, 35% of Gen Z voters listed responsibility as their primary reason for voting, according to Tufts, while 24% believed it would affect the outcome. Political consciousness is becoming more prevalent among the younger generation and for the 2024 presidential election; more than half (57%) of youth ages 18-34 are extremely likely to vote while 15% say they are fairly likely to vote. Among the 57% of voters, 51% back Biden while 30% support Trump.

“Trump is definitely a lunatic and while I don’t stand for everything Biden has done, especially with the situation in Gaza, Biden is still the better option,” Ching said. “People who don’t vote are extremely privileged in thinking that avoiding politics is an option. It doesn’t take very long to do and between now and November there’s lots of time to research candidates and come to a decision.”

To register to vote in Hawaiʻi, people can fill out a paper application and submit it to the County Elections Division or register online. Voters can choose to use mail-in ballots, drop them off at an official ballot drop box, or vote the day of the election in person.