It’s almost time for the American public to take advantage of their most valuable right – their right to vote. With the presidential election becoming more of a circus with each debate, the reason why you should vote (choosing a new person to lead this country) seems to sadly be forgotten.
There is potential to raise the falling voter numbers though, depending on how people view the elections right now. Of course, it will be of great help to have more voters participate in the polling process. It will especially help to have more young, reluctant millennials break out of the “why should I vote if it doesn’t make a difference?” mentality.
According to a survey compiled by the Voter News Service, only 9 percent of voters in the 2000 presidential election were in the 18-24 age range, and only 8 percent were in the 24-29 age range. Of course none of these voters were millennials at the time, but it goes to show that the turnout for youth voters was quite disappointing at the turn of the century.
These statistics remained the same after exit polls were counted for the 2004 presidential election, according to a survey conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International.
Hope was seen with the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, though. In 2008 alone, 66 percent of voters were under 30, according to the Pew Research Center.
In this year’s presidential primary, on the Democratic side, the millennial involvement seems to be even higher than in the 2008 and 2012 primaries. This year, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, per the Gallup Poll, with a 73 percent backing of millennial voters, according to The Atlantic. On the republican side, none of the candidates so far have seemed to spark that same interest in millennials.
Millennials need to take their decision and their vote very seriously. At this point, they cannot just be swept up by the excitement of a “political revolution,” or a “celebrity candidate,” but must ask hard questions about how exactly these candidates go about doing what they’ve promised.
The most striking example is the promise of free college tuition and free health care for all. That sounds fabulous, but with both congressional houses being run by the opposing party, how exactly could this be accomplished?
Voters need to understand that this vote is for the most important position in our country. It is imperative to look at all aspects of a presidency and what is involved with that position. By matching the perfect candidate to the position, they have a better chance of accomplishing the voter’s wishes than bringing in a wrong or weak candidate simply based on popularity.
In short, the youth vote is gaining power in the country. With two thirds of the vote for Barack Obama in 2008, it is clear that the young voters have a voice, but in order to be heard by the people that vote every year (mainly 45-64 year old white people, according to a US Census Bureau report) it is vital that you start voting now. If you don’t vote, you’re making sure your voice doesn’t matter.