Letter to the editor: Lack of student interest in voting a concern

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March 5, 2014

“My vote doesn’t matter”. I find that this is the reason I hear the most when other college students tell me why they do not vote or even register to vote. Many students voice their political views in the classroom, in social gatherings and over social media. However, only a small percentage will vote in a Presidential Election, and an even smaller percentage will vote in a Congressional Election.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the age group with the lowest percentage of voters is the 18 to 24 year old group. In data from the elections from 1996 to 2010 this age group had the lowest percentage of voters for every election during these years. In the 2008 Presidential Election 58.2% of the total voting population voted. However, only 43.8 percent of people ages 18 to 24 voted in that election. The 2010 Congressional Election had an even greater difference. Of the total population 41.8 percent voted, but only 19.2 percent of the youngest age group voted. The group with the highest voter turnout is the 65 years and older group. In the 2008 Presidential Election 68.1 percent of the group voted, and in the 2010 Congressional Election 58.9 percent of the group voted.
This is concerning because the group with the lowest voter turnout will be affected by results at the polls. The policies and decisions that would be implemented will have the largest impact on the lives of young adults. This young adult age group will be entering the workforce and beginning to be more involved in society, but yet the political involvement is much lower than any other group. Our generation should be educating ourselves on political issues and going out to vote during election time. By registering to vote and going out to vote this can encourage people to do their own research on the candidates for the election. However, your vote will not tip the scale at a national election, but if young people across the nation start showing up at the polls together we could have a large impact on the outcome and the decisions made for our countries future.

Jenna Smith