Jesus Nebot, an actor and filmmaker, spoke at the University of Louisville’s Chao auditorium on Monday about voting trends in young people.
“For a lot of international students and for a lot of people coming from other countries, we know what it means to be in a country where you don’t have the right to vote,” Nebot said. Nebot was born in Spain under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. It is for this reason that Nebot speaks about democracy and promotes world peace. He has conducted over 200 speeches at universities domestically and internationally.
During his speech, Nebot talked about voting trends in the past.
“As soon [the twenty-sixth amendment] passed…over 50 percent of young people voted. And that never happened again,” said Nebot.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, in 1972, 52 percent of young people ages 18-24 voted in the presidential election. In 2000 that number was 36 percent and, according to civicyouth.org, that number was 48 percent in 2008.
“To the extent that we do not engage, do not participate [in the political process], we lose. We’re letting others decide for ourselves and that’s just pretty sad.”
The rest of Nebot’s speech was very engaged with the three dozen audience members in attendance. Nebot passed out a survey that ranked each respondent more liberal or conservative based on the answers given. After this, he instructed the ones who were more liberal to gather on one side of the room and the conservative ones to gather on the other side. Then he asked members from each political orientation to debate three topics for the audience members who were not categorized as liberal or conservative. The topics debated were the hot-button issues of abortion, taxation and the environment.
“I think that he did a really great job with engaging students and getting people to think about things we don’t normally think about,” said Lauren Nehus, a senior marketing major and communications minor. “He created a really good environment and talked us through the hot topics and issues.”
KT Kennedy, a senior political science major, said, “I really think he just wants you to know it’s all about being well informed and involved, because everybody’s vote does count.”
The speech was hosted by SAB and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The speech was given as a two-part event, the first of which was a catered lunch in the Red Barn that allowed attendees to learn about the presidential candidate’s platforms.