Is there anything more exciting than election season? Relentless finger-pointing ads aside, there’s something truly amazing about being a part of democracy in action. In just two weeks, Americans will swarm to the polls and- with the push of a few buttons- decide the future of our country.
When I picture Election Day in my mind, I see these wonderfully diverse throngs of people, clutching cups of coffee and smiling with their peers as they (respectfully) discuss the latest debate topics. The fact is, though, that I may not have as many peers my age at the polls as I wistfully imagined; research indicates that young adults simply aren’t engaged in this election.
Less than a month ago, Pew Research Center published recent findings with this damning headline- “Youth Engagement Falls; Registration Also Declines.” The article went on to reveal some shocking facts: “The share of voters younger than 30 who are following campaign news very closely is roughly half what it was at this point four years ago (18%, down from 35%). Just 63% of young registered voters say they definitely plan to vote this year, down from 72% four years ago.”
I’m a Millennial, which means I’m in that “under 30” category. Like the “Baby Boomer” generation, Millennials are hugely influential—Advocates for Youth suggests that 64 million eligible voters in this election are Millennials, or 29% of ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS.
In other words, people my age make up almost 1/3 of all eligible voters, but only 18% of us are even following the election closely, and not even ¾ of us even plan to vote.
I can’t stress how important it is that we- the Millennials- as a group make our voices heard. If you are in South Carolina and are eligible to vote, go register here http://www.scvotes.org/. It may be too late to vote in this general election, but you can definitely prepare yourself for upcoming elections. Read up on your candidates, watch the debates, and talk to your peers- stay informed. I don’t care who you vote for, I just want you out there :) Happy voting, everyone!