I bet you didn't know that nearly two-thirds of eligible voters do not vote. The lack of youth who are voting in the national and local elections is even greater, which a problem because there is an entire generation, an entire demographic of people whose opinions are almost completely ignored or unheard in the country.
Young people are voters in the age range of 18 to 30-year-olds. In the 2014 midterm elections, only 21.5% of voters in that age range participated in voting. This small percentage of young voters is alarming, considering how heated members of today's youth become over very controversial topics in today's society, such as gun control, women's reproductive rights, climate change policy, and vaccinations, to name a few. Young people are all about the issues, but few of them ever go as far as taking their passion about issues to the polls, where they could vote on representatives, laws, bills, and legislation that would put their ideas into motion.
Since so few young people are taking to the polls with their opinions, the country is caught in an election rut. The elections all seem to end up with relatively the same results and relatively little change, which keeps America from progressing and improving as a country. The states where changes are seen and voters do tip the scales are places where larger percentages of young voters are actively voting. The positive influence of young voters is seen in states where medical marijuana is legalized and states where bills such as the "Save our Seas Act" are passed.
Because young voters and their passions and opinions have such a strong influence when it comes to elections, organizations such as Planned Parenthood Votes, Tom Steyer's NextGen America and the Alliance for Youth Action announced in 2018 that they would "invest six figures" to distribute voter guides before the midterm Election Day to over two million young voters in 19 states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which are some of the country's biggest swing states.
There are many reasons why Millenials and Gen Zers don't vote, and very few of them have to do with a lack of interest, lack of motivation, or lack of desire to vote. Young people choose not to vote due to scheduling conflicts because they don't know how to register because they haven't been encouraged to vote, or because they don't believe they are informed enough to vote. There are a number of people who opt out of voting because of religious convictions, disabilities, and language barriers, but those groups make up a small percentage of the American population.
The most common excuses among the youth in the United States for not voting are being too busy to vote, not like any of the candidates, confusion on how to register, lack of encouragement, and lack of education or lack of information regarding politics.
None of the excuses for why American youth haven't registered to vote are significant enough reasons not to vote, and many of the reasons have extremely simple solutions, and with a bit of information, every young person in the country could easily be registered to vote. Let's explore some of the most common excuses.
The first reason why young people don't vote is being too busy to vote or too busy to register. This may be the worst excuse in the book. Contrary to popular belief, voters don't have to vote on election day, and few of them actually do! Early voting can begin as early as 45 days before election day in some states, with the average early voting period length being 22 days. There is no way that someone is busy every day for 45 days before election day, but even if you are, you can also vote by mail in absentee ballot, which the government will MAIL TO YOU.
All you have to do is walk to the mailbox, fill out your ballot, walk back to the mailbox. It is also no excuse to say you have no time to register to vote. You can do it online. It takes five minutes. You get your registration card in the mail a few weeks later. In fact, when I went online to register to vote, I almost thought I was giving my information to a sketchy website because there was no way it could be that easy to register, but it was. The site to register for voting is Vote.gov. It's THAT easy.
Another reason why youth say they do not vote is that they do not like the candidates. Most people in America never truly like the candidates, no one ever wants to be best friends with political candidates, they're usually slimy and sleazy politicians. You don't have to like THEM, you just have to like what they stand for, what the believe in, and share the same values as them. It is hard to love a candidate, but it isn't very hard to be passionate about at least SOME of the things they're passionate about, and it is easy to use their platform to guide you in your election choice.
To all of today's youth: Our opinions on issues such as vaccination and every other issue in today's society cannot be voiced, cannot be heard, if we do not vote on bills, if we do not vote congressmen and congresswomen of similar values into office, if we do not vote in general. Everyone eligible to vote should register and vote.
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