Voter Turn Out Was Low For Millennials...Again

Voter Turn Out Was Low For Millennials...Again

The 2018 Illinois Primaries had a low young voter turn out, but why?
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Did you know that there was an election for Illinois on March 20th? Did you vote? Chances are, this will be a no for you as only 31% of Illinois population of eligible voters turned out for the 2019 Midterm primaries. Of course that statistic varies in age group with older adults between the ages of 54-74 turning out at 42% while Millennials, ages 35-20, turned out at only 3% according to an article by CBS This might seem frustrating to those who are politically active. It might seem like citizens are not jazzed about politics as much as they should be. It seems lazy. How hard is it to just go out and vote? Politics affect you on the day to day, and it’s especially important now in today’s political climate if you’re left wing because we have a Republicans in the house, senate and the White House causing all kinds of chaos!

The thing is, it’s not that simple. It’s not because young voters are too lazy or too engrossed into things that are so trivial like what to binge on Netflix or the coolest fidget spinner tricks. This isn’t true. In general, voting average for Midterms is always very low because it’s not advertised as important. It’s the off year. News channels talk endlessly about the general elections and make a huge specticle. But Midterms and Midterm Primaries aren’t reported endlessly because they aren’t seen as interesting news stories. Voting turnout is always low. In the midterm election in 2014, it had been the lowest it had ever been since World War Two at 36.4% nationwide according to Huffington Post. While this voting drop is extreme, it’s not necessarily new. In 2008, voter turnout had been 57.8% of the voting population, but the following midterm had a drop to 35.9% according to Pew Research. But again for Obama’s re-election in 2012, it jumped back up to 53.7. In 2016, the voter turnout was 60%.

The interesting thing is in this recent election in Illinois, the voter turnout was historically high for Democrat voters with 1.3 million Illinois voters casting a Democratic Ballot while only 700,000 casted a Republican ballot according to ABCs news story on the election. As it has been in previous offseason elections, there tends to be a really low democratic vote and that tends to cost them. In the 2014 election, the Democrats lost several important seats in the house and senate which lead to a gridlock between parties. This loss led to the crisis with the Affordable Care Act which led to the Government Shut Down, as well as a stop to a lot of bills the Obama Administration tried to pass because the Republicans wanted to work against everything Obama tried to put on the table.

This year, I expect that we will find a higher Democratic turn out because they realize just how important all this is. When they had the Obama Administration they felt sort of safe. Unfortunately, we aren’t really taught how much of an impact midterms can be and primaries can be. Personally, I don’t remember being taught in highschool about the importance of Midterm elections. We mostly covered the general election and spent a couple class periods explaining what the heck is an electoral college. And if we did learn about it, that was just completely forgotten about just like Algebra.

Older voters have been doing this thing for a while. They understand the voting process now and understand when elections are and what they are usually for. If you’re young like me, it’s very difficult to even find information on the election itself including who is even going to be on the ballot. If you work more than one job, where will you find time to vote? What if you are in college and live in a dorm? You can’t vote in the state you are dorming in because you’re technically not a legal resident. And young voters don’t have stability in their lives yet. They most likely moved that year or changed their name or their job and figuring out how to register or where to vote takes a lot of planning that some people don’t have time for. And then the final issue: some people have absolutely no idea that there’s an election. My roommate had absolutely no idea that there was an election today and it completely flew under his radar. The same thing almost happened to me because I only knew about the exact date because I saw a random flier on the campus of my significant others school. I saw nothing on any social media except maybe a few friends who posted about early voting. Nothing reminding me to “go vote.” And if you think that’s unnecessary, in the 2016 election they did that and there was a high voters turnout for young voters because they reached out on social media.

The thing is, we have a problem. It is very important that we get the young vote out because we make up so much of the population. There are more millennials now than there are baby boomers and the millennials are the most diverse generation with a high amount of people of color than white people which is a big deal if you want to vote for someone who represents your communities needs. The midterms in November are a big deal. If there are enough votes, there is a chance that we can flip the senate and take out the republican seats. We need to take back the senate so that Democrats can have a voice and fight against the Trump administration. I hope that people will be just as adamant about getting voters to the polls as they were in 2016 because this election matters.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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