Every Vote Matters in Elections

Every Vote Matters in Elections

On Nov. 4, the 2014 midterm Election Day, the US had the smallest voter turnout in 72 years. Overall, the national turnout was 36.3 percent, and less than a third of the population capable of voting in the three most populated states turned out. But More than anything there was a very low number of youth voters.

The youth (ages 18-29) make up about 21 percent of the overall voting population. Only one-fifth of all these eligible voters made an effort to register and to cast a ballot. This generation makes up a large part of our country, and can be a large deciding factor in the outcome of the election.

It’s often said that this dilemma is caused by apathy, and frustration at the negative tones of the campaigns. This may not be entirely true, however. It could also be an issue with the confusing registration and voting processes. The procedure is bureaucratic, tedious, and differs from state to state, even county to county.

For a student just starting at a new college, trying to decide whether to register in a new state and figuring out how to do so can be a headache. If they are in a new place, they might not even care about the local issues on the ballot, and decide to send in an absentee ballot for their old place of residency.

Some schools make it easier than others, with booths and places to register set up around campus, but that only reaches out to the college-educated part of the population.

The youth of America that are not pursuing a higher education should have a chance to use their voice too. The voting process should not be so complicated that it’s able dissuade such a large part of our country into not participating in democracy.

Especially in California, the voter booklets and information on candidates and propositions can be pretty dense, and it can be hard even for an experienced voter to get through.

“I think people should vote, but I think a lot of the times they might be uninformed, the youth especially, and they could just make random decisions,” senior Avery Martin said. Most of the people running in the mid-term election, for county and town-wide positions, aren’t well publicized. Because of this, a lot of people feel like it’s just safer to not vote at all, to avoid arbitrarily putting someone down that they don’t know anything about. Civic education, teaching kids how the voting process works and about current politics, is also an essential part in getting the new voting generation to fill out a ballot.

“I don’t think we have a problem with civic education at Miramonte, and I think that by the time the school year ends, my students definitely have learned enough to go out and vote for themselves,” Government teacher Meghan Selway said.

If the youth do not vote, a large part of the country is not participating in political decisions. It’s pretty hard to have a functioning democracy when you are only getting the input of people who are all coming from the same place. Citizens ages 18-29 are facing different issues than those who are ages 30 and older, and they should be deciding them for themselves. If this is the generation that will be running the country in a couple of decades, it’s important that they start taking a more active interest in what is going on.