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Young People Need to Get Out and Vote!

In recent decades, young people have yielded the lowest voter turnout among all age groups. However, young people are also some of the most vocal participants in politics, using their phones as weapons against injustice.

Politically charged infographics and Twitter commentary are reposted by young audiences at a rapid rate, yet their pilgrimages to the poll booths have less vigor.

As a young voter myself, I understand why we struggle to fight our battles in traditional elections. First, you must remember to register to vote, a simple yet forgettable task. Then, you must also take time out of your day to drive to the polls and cast a vote. And after these other tasks have been completed, you have to simply hope that your vote made some sort of a difference in the election’s outcome.

While it can be easy to brush aside your civic duty, making excuses concerning why you shouldn’t go vote, let me play devil’s (or angels?) advocate and explain why you should go out and cast a ballot in November 2024.

Many young people feel that their vote is inconsequential, because the electoral college has the final say in presidential votes. As a result, they don’t bother voting in presidential races at all. In actuality, their votes are critical. In most states, each electoral college vote is dedicated to the candidate who wins the popular vote. Because of this system, your vote is not a drop in a bucket of national votes. Instead, your vote is counted in a state-wide election.

As a result, a single vote may not directly influence the outcome of the presidential election, but it can influence the votes of a state’s electors. The winner-take-all system makes each vote influential, as a candidate with only a slight majority will receive all of a state’s electoral college votes.

If anything, it is even more crucial that you cast a ballot under the electoral college system, because your vote is counted in a smaller pool. That being said, only presidential elections utilize the electoral college. If the electoral college is holding you back, prioritize voting in local and state elections.

Countless young people refuse to vote because few politicians represent their concerns. For example, many politicians don’t plan to change our current Social Security system, don’t plan to combat climate change, and don’t plan to incorporate the mental health crisis in their policy agendas, not targeting issues that are important to today’s youth.

However, with a large enough influx of young voters, this can be changed as well. Representatives should prioritize representing their communities, but they generally cater their policies towards constituents. This is because politician’s jobs are most secure when they have high voter approval.

As I previously established, most voters are not below thirty years old, so most politicians will not cater their policies towards those below that age. However, if their new voter base were younger, politicians would be more likely to cater to the younger crowd. As a result, if more young people vote in upcoming elections, more issues that are important to young people will be represented in national politics.

Lastly, from people of color to women, many of our ancestors had to fight for the right to vote. For too many years, only land-owning white men were allowed to vote in elections. This meant that representatives only represented the interests of this demographic. As a result, oppression was rampant and there was little that the oppressed groups could do to change it. It took years of protesting, lobbying, and sacrificing to gain a voice. If you don’t vote now, their fight didn’t have a purpose.

We cannot be the generation that loses their voice simply because we opted not to use it. If you don’t vote, you may be wasting the opportunity to exercise a right that would not have been available to you in the past. Let’s make the 2024 elections count. If you’ll be 18 or older by November 5th, register to vote now. If you have already registered, I hope to see you at the polls.

– Sophia Stringer / Roanoke



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