On Tuesday, Nov. 6 the seeds for whatever direction our country will go will be planted. Therefore it is of the utmost importance for every United States citizen, who legally can, to cast their vote in the elections.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) in the age group 18-29, 46 million people are registered to vote–which is 24% of the eligible voting population. CIRCLE also states that youth voter turnout was two percent higher in 2008, at 51% compared to 49% in 2004.
While it is wonderful that the youth voter turnout increased in the last presidential election, it sure would be nice if in this election the turnout was substantially higher.
But a recent Gallup poll shows the young vote is projected to decrease 20% from 2008. 2,800 18-29 year old registered voters were asked if they would definitely vote in November. 58% said they would, compared to 78% who answered they would in the summer of 2008. Obviously the 2008 numbers when judged against the actual youth voter turnout from 2008 is a troubling sign for this election.
Unfortunately friends, this isn’t the merry old land of Oz, and we can’t click our ruby red slippers three times and wish ourselves back to a time and a place where our country wasn’t in an economic disaster with political party leaders finger pointing at each other from across the hall. We need to attempt to fix our country’s problems ourselves, like the generations before us did.
After all, the elected officials running the country for their designated terms, (two years for representatives, four years for the president, and six years for senators), will have a significant impact on us. These impacts range from the cost of college to the job and housing market we will be taking part in after our collegiate careers.
For those who say their vote is meaningless, so why waste their time voting?: If you’re not going to use your right to vote, then don’t use your right to complain and protest. Many a time whilst chatting among a group, I’ve witnessed someone absolutely rail against an elected official. I always try to encourage them to use their vote in the upcoming election to help oust the official that causes them such ire only to have the outraged person tell me that they don’t vote and that it’s pointless.
“I’m just one vote” they say. “It’s not going to make a difference.”
At this point in the conversation, I inform them how ridiculous they look carrying on the way they do, imitating the Boy Orator of the Platte William Jennings Bryan standing on a soap box but then wasting the opportunity to back up their words in the ballot box. If you’re furious with the way your country is being run and want to see change, vote. If you think things are on the right track and have no qualms with the current elected officials, vote. Remind others to vote, your friends, family, neighbors and even random people. Don’t be shy. The father of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson once wrote something about the power of the people’s vote that has more meaning today than when he wrote it: “Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.”
If you believe a great injustice is being perpetrated upon this great land, you have the opportunity to voice your concern.
So I implore you to go out on Nov. 6 and cast your vote. I know I will, and I’ll wear those sweet “I Voted Today” stickers proudly.