Young voters are an important demographic in determining the political process of any country. Historically, statistics indicate that very few young people in the US participate in the electoral process. The voice of the young people is important because key issues in the 2016 elections will be directly or indirectly on the concerns of young professionals and students. Young voters between the ages of 18-24 make 20% of the registered voting bloc. In the 2004 election, less than 49% of the young voter group between 18 to 29 years voted (Marcus 1). This is a dangerous trend and rate because it means that the older generation of electors decides on the issues that are important for young people. Issues such as college tuition and federal job program reforms are likely not to be voiced when young people do not vote. It is vital to clearly understand the reasons why young people do not vote, why they should vote and hot to get them to vote.
The main reason for low turnout in voting by young people is that young people feel they have less stake in the political establishment compared to the older generation. This is also made worse by the fact that young adults always are not motivated to vote because they do not see themselves as stakeholders in any city or community. Because they are likely to move from one city to another after they graduate, they do not consider themselves attached to any community. Millennials also have less interest in issues that are debated in national elections, such as foreign policy, social security, and many other issues that they feel are a priority of the older generation. Candidates seeking elective positions do not keenly address matters such as climate change, student debt and tuition, which are at the heart of young adults agenda. Lastly, ignorance of young people is another reason that makes them not to vote. Politicians who do not address youthful agenda form the biggest chunk of representatives in government and they do not discuss the agenda of youths because young people do not vote. The lack of trust in the political process and hopelessness in the political process are the key issues that translate into poor voter turnout by young people (Brennan and Cook 1).
Voting is important for young people because it is an important right that everyone has to exercise and the vote that is cast matters. Voting allows young adults to shape the social agenda as they would want and create a better living for themselves. The issues that young people invest in, such as climate change, student loans and tuition, capital punishment, separation of state and church and gay marriages are a contentious issue at the heart of the society. Through voting, young people make their voice be heard, and this will enable them to shape policy when it comes to these issues. Economic policies, foreign policy, and environmental issues that affect the future of young people can only be developed when young people participate fully in the elections through voting. Without young people voting, politicians will be unable to address these issues because it shows that the concerned group is not involved in the electoral process. Through voting, the president is elected, and he or she selects judicial officials who in term will have an influence on future generations through their legal powers. Hence, voting by young people shows that they have concern for the generations to come (Fehlen 1).
Several steps can be taken to ensure that there is an improved turnout by young people when it comes to voting. The first significant step that can improve voting by young people is by making voting easier. Practices such as early voting, online voting, Election Day registration, vote by mail or no registration can help increase the voter turnout by young people. Online voting is only allowed in 23 states, and this means that young people who are likely to register and vote online do not vote. The second significant action that can increase interest in voting by young people is through teaching schoolchildren the importance of voting and the process of balloting. Less educated youths always think their vote is not important while others show voter apathy. It is important for young people to understand the impact that their vote can bring in an election. The voting process may look complicated to those who do not fully understand the way the system works. Through educating them, voter turnout by young people will be improved, and this will have an important influence on the results of an election (Fabian 1).
Another factor that should be considered in encouraging young voters is to change the election year. Turnout is usually high in a presidential year, and if all federal officials are voted in at the same year after every four years, this will likely improve the participation of young people. Because some states hold elections for federal officials in different years, the turnout by the youths is usually very small compared to states that carry out the whole process at the same time. It is also important to encourage ballot measures such as the Florida Marijuana measures, which attach an election measure on the ballot. Through this manner, young people will feel that they are directly contributing to a policy that they can influence. The last important way in which young people can be encouraged to vote is through engagement with the candidates. Advocacy groups and campaigns by candidates have always approached young voters with less enthusiasm and policies that are not of great interest to them. To ensure that young people turn out in higher percentages in elections, it is important that these groups should have direct contact with young people and promote policies that will favor them (Sides 1).
In conclusion, young adults who are aged between 18-29 years should vote in huge numbers to influence their social, economic and political agenda. Through voting, key issues such as student loans, environmental issues, the cost of education, economic policy and other matters that are direct and indirect concerns can be shaped. Young people poor voting trends are attributed to lack of faith and hopelessness in the political system and the political establishment. Through easier voting methods, teaching schoolchildren the importance of balloting, changing the election year, introducing ballot measures in all elections and engaging young voters, the number of youthful voters is likely to increase. The 2016 election is important because of the many issues that are liable to be decided by the new government. Voting will enable young people to influence the future that they envision.
Brennan, Collin, and Kristi Cook. Why College Students Arent Voting (and Why It Matters). USA TODAY. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
Fabian, Jordan. How to Get More Young People to Vote. Fusion.net. N.p., 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
Fehlen, Douglas. 10 Reasons Why College Students Should Vote. Study.Com. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
Marcus, John. Seeking Political Support, Colleges Prod Students to Vote. US News. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
Sides, John. How to Get Young People to Vote? Register Them before They Turn 18. Washington Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
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