Young People Need to Vote
By Isaac Escovedo, Editor-in-Chief, and Elias Canterbury, Reporter
Let’s face it, politics are complicated. In November we get to choose between two old men - and quite frankly, neither of them seem to represent our values as young people particularly well. As a young person, it is easy to feel like our voice does not matter, but it is important to recognize that politics affect every element of our lives.
Graphic by Aidan Janssen
According to a study on voter turnout by ElectProject, young people have historically voted at lower rates than any other demographic. This is bad. When young people do not vote, politicians will not focus on issues that matter to young people. Issues like student loans and climate change will affect young people for the rest of their lives, but because many of us do not bother voting, these issues are overshadowed by things that matter to the older generations. In order to fix this, we as young people need to get involved in our politics. We need to vote in every election, be it local, state, or federal. Over the past several years, political activity on sites like Instagram and TikTok has increased, with voting-age teens getting involved in political discourse on a wide range of topics. This is good to see, but politicians do not check your Instagram feed. In order for young people to matter as a demographic, we need to get involved in our elections.
No matter who you are, one party is sure to have more policies that you agree with than the other. Do you feel strongly about gun control? Climate change? Scientific progress? Space travel? Hunting permits? Minimum wage? Democrats and Republicans have different stances on every single one of those issues, and voting for the right candidate could directly impact your life. It is important to note that change does not just happen at the federal level, and we need to be involved in far more than just the presidential election. State and local elections give us an opportunity to elect officials much closer to home. Unlike the president, we can call and email these officials to tell them how we feel, and by participating in local government create meaningful change in our communities. Voting is the tool the Founding Fathers gave us to make change in our country, and it is a shame to throw that away.
When you vote you are giving your consent to the candidate you vote for to govern. By doing this you also take responsibility for the actions and consequences of that candidate’s leadership and those who they bring with them. For example, if that candidate were to roll back ecological protections, or were to write an extremely damaging crime bill, you would be at least partially responsible. Alongside this, if you make a decision to not vote you are not at all responsible for the candidate that does win because you did not contribute your consent to them. But you must also recognize the consequences of that action. If you make a conscious decision and come to the conclusion that you should not vote, you also accept what may happen as a result of that choice. Make a conscious decision about your vote, and ask yourself if the consequences of that action are something you are willing to accept.
We get it, voting isn’t exactly fun, but it has consequences for everyone in the country. We need to take voting seriously, especially as young people. The decisions we make now will affect us for the rest of our lives, and if we can be involved in making those decisions, we should be. Please, if you are able to, vote. It affects all of our futures.