It’s Time for Young People to Vote

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Sydney Heriford, Website Co-Editor

As students settle into their school routines and navigate the new normal that this global pandemic has brought, many people seem to have forgotten about one of the most important events of the year: the 2020 election. As elections, both local and national, approach, it is more important than ever for young people to vote.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the November 2016 presidential election only 39.4% of young voters (ages 18-24) actually voted. Unfortunately, this is not a new occurrence. Young voters have been notorious for low turnout since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971. Essentially, this means less than half of all young people are voting on political issues which will affect nearly every young person in the United States.

Despite the fact that the outcomes of these elections can change young people’s lives, they continue to allow others to dictate their futures by not voting. It is time for this to change. Voting allows young people to take charge of their futures and express their opinions on issues which are important to them. Within the next four years, most teenagers and young adults will be entering college or the workforce, meaning political decisions being made now, like those involving the economy and student loans, will have a direct impact on their futures.

While many students feel like their vote will not change anything, in reality, if all eligible young voters actually voted, they could change the outcome of many elections. Unlike in the 2016 election, when Generation Z made up only 4% of eligible voters, this year, Pew Research Center has predicted that number will more than double with one-in-ten eligible voters belonging to Generation Z. Although this number might seem insignificant at first, 10% can change the course of an election.

It is obvious that teenagers and young adults are passionate about political issues. Now more than ever, they are expressing their opinions publicly, whether that be through social media or by joining protests. However, no real change is going to happen unless they use that passion at the polls on election day.

For those who are eligible to vote on election day on November 3rd, it is your civic responsibility to educate yourself and vote. Even those who are too young to vote in the upcoming election can help by encouraging friends and family members to get to the polls on election day. It is time for Generation Z to break the streak of low young voter turnout and use their voices to change their futures.

For more information on voting in Cass County, visit https://www.casscounty.com/2210/County-ClerkElection-Authority.