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?
49
views

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

Popular Right Now

Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

7880
views

Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
966
views

I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

Related Content

Facebook Comments