Every election season, whether presidential or midterm, millennial voters are always discussed as an influential electorate; however, this group is one of the least likely to vote while also being the largest eligible to do so.
Some of the leading reasons younger people seem to be against voting are that they think it won’t have any effect on them, politicians will do what they want and candidates aren’t knowledgeable or concerned about youth issues.
Political apathy should not push us away from exercising our constitutional rights. Being a non-voter only increases the problems we use as our excuse for not voting.
Younger generations’ lack of voter participation is especially prominent in non-presidential elections.
According to a Pew Research Center study, in 2014 those in the generation X, millennial and post-millennial generations, which range from ages 18 to 53 in 2018, made up 53 percent of eligible voters, while only 36 million votes were cast amongst this group. In the same election, 57 million of the baby boomers, silent and greatest generations, who are now 54 and older, voted.
Eligible voter population for the X-ers, millennials and post-millennials has increased by 18 million since 2014, according to the study.
This increase can be attributed to the addition of 15 million post-millennials being a part of the voting population. Post-millennials are defined by Pew as people born since 1996.
A small increase comes from X-ers and millennials becoming naturalized citizens.
This reluctance to vote has been a constant for years and it doesn’t seem to be going away.
In the midterms from 2002 to 2014, 20 percent of millennials ages 18 to 24 voted on average. By comparison, 26 percent of baby boomers of the same age voted in midterms from 1978 to 1986, according to the study.
Every election, campaigners and candidates try to change this trend and empower young people to have a voice in their democracy. Every generation has different issues that they value as priorities compared to their elders, if only because we each live through different experiences.
Midterms are some of the more important elections as we are electing our senators, congresspersons, governors and local officials. Presidential elections are relevant, but the president is not a monarch and we have Congress to legislate laws that matter to Americans and provide checks and balances.
Starting at the age of 18, voting gives adults the power to have a say in what politicians should be doing. Especially in this divisive period we’re in, if you want to see a change for the better, you have to be a part of the solution.
Doing nothing never fixed anything, neither does complaining without taking initiative.
Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, your voice can lead to change, but we have to take the first step by working to become informed voters and going to polls.
As older generations die out, younger voters will have to step up.
According to a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV, many Americans ages 15 to 34 do believe voting in midterms gives them some influence over the operation of the government and 79 percent of this group thinks leaders of their generation would do better job for the country than the preceding generation.
Young people care about the issues they see affecting their world today -- education, equal rights, immigration, healthcare access and gun safety – and they have the numbers to be influential in the electoral process…But only if they vote.