Why so few young Americans vote

By Stephanie McClelland
May 8, 2020

Voting is not only our right, but our power. So why are new voters from the age of 18-29 choosing to surrender their power of voting?

Studies show that November of 2014 was the lowest voter turnout rate for youth voters ever recorded with a turnout of only 20 percent, leaving 12.4 million “undermobilized” (registered voters who don’t vote) voters.

In 2016, 90 percent of young Americans reported an interest in politics. 80 percent intended to vote. Yet only 43 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 ended up actually casting a ballot.” If you were to ask people from this age group why they choose not to vote, you will most likely get a lot of the same answers.

One of the most popular reasons that young people do not vote is because they do not feel that they are educated enough on the topic to be able to have a strong enough opinion to vote for a specific person despite wanting to be involved in the voting process. 

According to this 2016 article, “Civic education can not only increase youth voting, but in doing so also begin to close historic voting gaps. Most states do not consider civic education as a vital part of student learning. While social studies is part of the curriculum in most states, reports from 2013 show only eight states assess students’ civic performance.”

It is important to educate these individuals on basic voting information such as, how to register to vote, how the electoral system works, as well as the policies of each candidate so that they can begin to form greater opinions and have information to back those opinions up and help them navigate through the process of an election so that they may start to feel a sense of confidence in voting.

There has never been a larger divide between the two political parties than right now, especially because of the many differences between generations. While the current voter generation tends to sway more liberal and the older generation tends to sway more Republican, youth voters feel a sense of fear of voting for a different political party than their parents or other family members.

Youth voters are also pressured by family to vote for a certain political party even if they may not agree with that party’s policies. Because of this fear that has been instilled into their minds, they would prefer not to vote at all rather than to go against their family’s beliefs.

A lot of people have also been raised in homes where their parents or other family members do not vote either, and therefore they have never been exposed to voting or encouraged to show an interest in voting.

Because of the fact that they don’t vote, they are more likely to be left off of contact lists for voting organizations to target, making it more difficult for youth voters to understand or be involved in the voting process.

Even though these reasons are some of the biggest as to why young people aren’t voting, the biggest one of all is simply that they do not like the candidates and they feel that their vote doesn’t matter. 

However, if anything, this should be a reason for youth voters to vote because once you start to get involved in politics and the voting process, the more likely you will elect people into office that represent you and your beliefs. 

The more that the youth of America vote, the more political officials will try to cater to that age group in order to win their vote, making it possible for youth voters’ hopes for the country to come to light and be proven that their vote does in fact matter.

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Stephanie McClelland

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