Editorial: why it’s important to vote

Living/Athens Editor

It’s not uncommon for millennials to be looked down upon by older generations for a multitude of reasons, ranging from being too technologically reliant to being overly indecisive. One of the harshest criticisms that some members of Generations X and Y have about millennials is that they have no desire to involve themselves in their civic duties. In fact, in an article published by The Washington Post, writer Catherine Rampell wrote, “In addition to being (obviously) the laziest, most narcissistic and most entitled generation ever, millennials have claimed for themselves yet another generational superlative: least likely to vote.”

Many studies have been conducted to determine whether young voter turnout is growing. Some studies show a decrease in millennial voting while others have inconclusive results. In a poll administered by USA Today/Rock the Vote, millennials reported being more pragmatic than conceptual when it comes to politics and don’t seem to stand with one particular party, according to usatoday.com. Despite those findings, the Republican leader among millennials is Donald Trump, while Bernie Sanders holds favor for young Democrats. Although this poll found that millennials feel strongly about issues such as background checks for gun carriers, renewable energy and police wearing body cameras for citizen safety, it didn’t find whether or not those issues are important enough to cause the young people to vote.

In another study about youth voting, it was found that in certain states, young people are impacting the election turnout significantly. According to civicyouth.org, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) conducts research on the civic involvement of America’s young adults. It calls this the Youth Electoral Significance Index, or YESI. CIRCLE focuses on this research in order to recognize the states where youth are going to have the most effect on elections at the federal level. CIRCLE found that the 2008 Iowa Caucus proved young voter turnout had doubled since 2004, according to civicyouth.org. And, in the 2012 election, voters ages 18 to 29 swayed Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania’s majority votes from Romney to Obama.

When Piedmont students were asked about their opinion on young voters, many of them believed that it is important if the issues at hand matter to our generation.

“I think it’s important to vote when educated properly,” Senior biology major Kevin Posmer said. “If someone votes without looking into each candidate and his or her values, then it just becomes random, which is pointless. But, if a young person can educate themselves enough to know what they’re truly voting for, then it is important.”

Though it may not be clear whether or not America’s youth has the desire to vote, what does remain evident, based on conducted studies, is that young people are passionate about important issues that could transform our country. That alone is why it’s crucial that they do go out and vote. Voting is one of the most prevalent ways for American citizens to have their voices heard by the government. In order to not only make this country great again and to silence the judgments and doubts of older generations, millennials need to educate themselves about the candidates, register to vote and then do so. For those interested in registering to vote, visit usa.gov/register-to-vote.