March 3, 2020

Voting is arguably the most crucial part of our democracy and one of the ways, we as Americans can exercise our freedom to vote and our ability to express our preference. Especially with the current polarized political climate, it is even more important to practice this right.

Complaining about our current political state or our current president will not change anything; however, getting out and voting could. With no clear front-runner, it is essential that young people show up to vote. Regardless of background or age, most Americans are affected by issues impacted by politics, which include healthcare, education, climate change, housing, the job market, etc. and have strong opinions as a result.

From inflammatory rhetoric to torn family ties to widening disdain for folks on the other side of the political aisle, there is no question that political sentiment is charged with a kind of personal attachment to the outcome. Yet, year after year, voter turnout suggests a different story, with only 45 percent of Americans actually voting, according to the 2008 US Census Bureau. Though the coexistence of political passion and anger with lower voter turnouts may appear to contradict one another, they express two aspects of the same reality.

Incidentally, voter turnout for younger generations is even more important, since in past elections we have taken up a large amount of the voter population.

According to Brookings.edu, young voter participation in 2016 declined by 2 percent from a record 52 percent in the 2008 election, today the voting population includes almost equal parts millennials and baby boomers.

However, younger people are still less likely to get out and vote. In 2016, only 19 percent of people aged 18-29 cast their ballot in the presidential election; at 49 percent, 45-64-year-olds accounted for the largest electorate last year, according to USA Today.

If we want our voice heard in a democracy that has a majority of older generations leading us, then we must vote.

As educated young adults, it is important that we understand that not voting could result in candidates who we do not favor getting elected. Now more than ever, younger generations need to vote to exercise having a voice in issues that will largely impact our future, like climate change and health care.

Educating yourself on what and who you’re voting for/on is also extremely important. Seeing a couple of tweets about a candidate that you favorite is not enough to know what the repercussions of uneducated voting could have.

Instead of listening to unreliable sources for information, do your research to back up your voting. Young people are increasingly identifying with independent political views. According to Brookings.edu, 35 percent of young voters identified with independent political views, rather than Republican or Democrat — a higher percentage than in the past three presidential elections. This means that younger generations are redefining confining party labels that aid in the current political climate.

Regardless of your beliefs, do your research and get out and vote.