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The importance of youth voters

Why young voters matter

Students+raise+their+hands+during+a+class+vote.
Students raise their hands during a class vote.

Students raise their hands during a class vote.

Aiden Owen

Aiden Owen

Students raise their hands during a class vote.

Madison Hadley, Reporter

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We hear a lot about how young people do not have a great turn out when it comes to voting. “American youth [tend] to vote at the lowest rates of any age group during National elections,” says Sarah Yerkes, a fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program at Brookings, in her article “Youth voting: What a new democracy can teach us about an old one”.

Many young adults feel powerless, like they do not have the resources to change what is happening in our country. Little do we know, we have the biggest power of all: voting. “Young people (ages 18-29) make up 21% of the eligible population in the general election,” as recorded by Civic Youth, yet only 50% of the eligible population actually votes in elections. Most of us feel as though our votes don’t matter as much as others, even though that is far from the truth. In actuality, 80 of the electoral college votes depend on youth voters. In the 2012 presidential election, youth votes kept Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania from turning red and putting their votes towards the Republican candidate.

Many organizations and programs are in place to increase young voter turnout. Texas has a state law in place that public schools need to have designated times of the year to register their eligible seniors to vote.

I spoke to Marcel McClinton a native Texan, young ambassador for youth voters, and the co-founder of the Orange Generation. He brought to our attention that many public high schools in Texas do not do this, and some don’t know that the law even exists. McClinton also works for the March for our Lives and he told us, “[March for our Lives] registered over 500,000 new voters over a couple of months and that has never been done before.” Marcel McClinton is a 17 year old making a difference, and not letting anyone speak for him. He quoted David Hogg, which perfectly summarizes everything he stands for, “Vote as if your life depends on it, because it does.”

The Secretary of State’s Office in Colorado also has a couple of programs they partner with to increase the turnout of young voters. Judd Choate (Director, Divisions of Elections) spoke with us about what they are doing to help the young adults turnout in elections. He told us that “Colorado is in the 90th percentile of young voter turnout in the Nation.” The Secretary of State’s Office in Colorado partners with Inspire U.S. and Inspire Colorado give out the Eliza Prickett Rout Award, which is awarded to the highest registered senior class. Colorado has pre voter registration allowing you to register before you turn 18, helping increase young voter turnout.

Young people are the most talked out demographic when it comes to voter turnout, and we have more power than we know. So if you’re as young as 16, you can pre-register to vote in the next general or national election. We can sway the vote, so get registered and vote.

About the Writer
Madison Hadley, Reporter

Madison Hadley is a sophomore. She is involved in the musical arts of Mead High School. She is a dog person, and she enjoys investigative journalism.

You can contact her at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “The importance of youth voters”

  1. Rachel Long on September 20th, 2018 12:32 pm

    Thank you for writing this article. It makes me sad when I see young people apathetic about voting. This is one of our most important duties and rights as citizens, especially in local elections. Register when you get your driver’s license and VOTE as soon as you turn 18!

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