by Alanna Carlson | Staff Writer
One of the most important issues facing our country today is low voter turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, an estimated 43 percent of eligible voters didn’t do so, according to The Washington Post. That is a huge portion of the population that was either barred from voting or chose not to vote, and it is negatively affecting our democracy.
One of the biggest hurdles to solving the problem of voter turnout is getting younger generations to vote. Young voter turnout in the United States has always been low as compared to other age demographics. According to Newsweek, only 49 percent of eligible Millennials voted in the 2016 election, as compared to 69 percent of Baby Boomers. This trend is not unique to the Millennial generation, either. Between 1908 and 2016, the turnout for voters between the ages of 18 and 29 never rose above 52 percent, according to The United States Census Bureau.
As the midterm elections rapidly approach, it is more important than ever that young voters are informed and engaged, and that we turn out to vote. If Millennials and Generation Z continue to have low turnout at the polls, our voices will continue to go unheard. Meanwhile, voters aged 54 to 72 will continue to determine representation and legislation for the rest of the country.
Many young people choose not to vote because they believe that their vote couldn’t possibly make a difference. But with 43 percent of the eligible voter base deciding not to vote, it is pretty clear that if we came together and used our collective voting power, young voters could make a huge difference in the outcomes of our elections and the direction of our country. And as Millennials and Generation Z begin to take the reins of the country, it is going to become more and more important that we make our voices heard.
If you are a person between the ages of 18 and 29 and are eligible to vote, then voting is more than just a right—it is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. Our democracy will only work for us if we choose to make it do so.
More information about how to register to vote in your home state can be found at https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.