Our View: Young people must vote


CW editorial board

In 19 days, Americans will have the chance to cast their votes in the most significant election since the 2016 presidential election. The results of these midterm elections have the potential to shift the balance between Democratic and Republican control in Congress. Beyond that, the results of local elections will directly impact communities throughout the country. It’s up to each eligible voter in the nation to determine who will yield political power.

Voter turnout is inhibited by a variety of factors. Some of these are complex and difficult to combat. For example, The Economist cites a report conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice that found registered voters are sometimes incorrectly purged from voter registration databases. These purges are likely some combination of genuine human error and malicious intent to control election outcomes. Regardless of the intent behind these purges, the average American lacks the resources and knowledge to do much about such large-scale election interference.

On the other hand, many are “purged” from voting, not by the government, but via psychological barriers. It’s easy for Americans to feel a sense of powerlessness when it comes to changing the way our country is run. Our elected representatives often feel distant and disconnected from their constituents, which can make acts of civic engagement like voting feel futile.

This perception is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A key segment of the population continues to abstain from voting and, by extension, continues to observe the lack of change that follows elections. Then the belief that elections don’t really matter is further reinforced.

Moreover, demographic factors critically affect voter turnout. According to The United States Census Bureau, 70.9 percent of citizens over the age of 65 voted in the 2016 presidential election. For 18- to 29-year-olds, this figure was only 46.1 percent. These numbers contradict the stereotype that older adults are more politically jaded, while young Americans are eager to enact change. Rather, they suggest that older Americans are wise enough to understand that voting in large numbers can produce politically lucrative results.

It is imperative for all Americans to vote in the quickly approaching midterm elections. Voting is a civic duty for every enfranchised American, but more than that, voting functions as a lifeline between citizens and the government that is supposed to serve us. If we want to enact change, we must push past the inhibiting mindset that our vote won’t change anything. We must recognize and subsequently harness the power available to the American people via the ballot.

Regardless of your political inclinations – or lack thereof – head to Vote411.org to find who will be on your ballot Nov. 6. Research the candidates and their platforms, even if only briefly, so that you will be empowered to make an informed choice on election day.

In a nation riddled with corrupt officials and political pandemonium, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of political apathy, alienation or flat-out confusion. The reality is, your vote matters. You don’t need to be a political junkie to be qualified to vote. You just have to recognize what is at stake and care enough to do something about it. And, if you’ve never voted in an election before, Nov. 6 is a great time to start.

Our View represents the consensus of the CW Editorial Board.