By Nate Jara, CDNY Deputy Communications Director
Year after year, election after election, young people continue to be the least responsible generation when it comes to getting to the polls. Despite the growing number of issues that directly influence the wellbeing of young Americans, from healthcare to college affordability, they simply can’t be motivated to vote.
In the 2012 election, only 38% of young people aged 18-24 voted, compared to 50% of 25-44 year olds and 63% of 45-64 year olds. These figures all drop during midterm elections, but they drop especially low for young people, to just 21% in 2010.
Whenever youth voting is discussed, poor turnout is discussed as a norm, not anything unusual. Young people just don’t vote. No surprises there.
How did the refusal to exercise our most basic democratic right become the butt of a joke, rather than a serious issue?
We as young people have the ability to influence the outcomes of elections at every level of government. Elections that have real, meaningful impacts on our daily lives. We have an obligation, not just to ourselves, but to the country and to the spirit of democracy to ensure our elected leaders truly represent the American people.
Our apathy as a generation has resulted in a class of politicians that do not understand our needs and do not lead or legislate on our behalf. Register to vote, register your friends to vote, register your classmates to vote. We have just as much of a stake in the political process as anyone else, and it’s about time we acted like it.