Have you ever been in class and get an assignment handout that looks really difficult? The thought of your once free weekend is now being met with homework beyond imagination, it almost makes you sick to your stomach. Well what if the Professor, just as class is about to end says “Whether you do the assignment or not, it won’t be graded”. Would you suddenly feel more at ease? Would your weekend plans suddenly clear up?
Would you even do the assignment at all?
The United States acts a lot like that Professor when it comes to elections- vote, but if you don’t no harm done on your end, right? That, at least, seems to be the mindset of most young people in the country.
According to a 2015 report by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 21.3 percent, around 10 million college students turned out to vote in the 2014 midterm elections. In the 2012 Presidential Election, which historically across the board garners the highest voter turnout, our generation had 64 million eligible voters, yet only 26 percent of us actually voted. That means a large number of students, 74 percent, didn’t vote.
So just why are these trends like they are? It makes no sense. In an age where young people have more access to the internet and news sources than ever before, nearly 40 percent of eligible voters in our age demographic cannot name more than one policy that one of the presidential candidates want to enact, according to a Monmouth University study. An election that has been ongoing for over a year now and two out of five people can’t recite potential policy that will undoubtedly affect them?
Maybe it really is a generational gap that older people simply cannot relate to anymore. Comparing the advancements that have been made not just in technology, but simply in science, healthcare, and school itself is simply not relatable to even the 1980’s for some people.
Yet what if those reasons aren’t the cause after all? What if it really comes down to a generation that has been crafted to feel entitled or sometimes can lack the initiative if there is no consequence. One day this millennial generation will be the new working class of America, and we are not soon from that. The voting numbers will be up, presumably, as well as people’s political involvement. Yet what about the next generation of young voters? Will it be better or worse for them to show up to the polls.
At the very least, this has to bring up some questions to voting reform. This would allow the actual majority to be heard, and the country would benefit in the process. As long as the assignment isn’t being graded, less students will be doing the work.