By Ely SANCHEZ, Staff Reporter ¦
Young adults, teens, or however you refer to yourself these days, I just want to take a minute to tell you that I agree with you about something. You know how you complain to your parents or other adults that they don’t “understand” you? You’re right, we don’t. At least, I don’t. Especially when it comes to making a change to the very communities you have grown up in. Whether you believe it or not, many adults do listen, and are actually very scared of the power you have.
It may not look like you young adults can make much of a difference, but look around the world where young adults have driven the social change by being the spark that started many social movements. Something as simple as voting can make a difference. But what does voting have to do with this?
Here’s why it’s important: the term “young voters” is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as 18-29 year olds, but guess how many of these eligible to vote actually voted? In the 1996 and 2000 elections, just 30 percent of young adults voted. A more recent report from CIRCLE (the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), which conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans, states that, “approximately 50 percent of eligible young people—about 24 million youth, ages 18-29—voted in the 2016 general election.”
The Census Bureau notes that, “People of ages 18 through 24 have consistently voted at lower rates than all other age groups.” If young adults ever wonder why no politicians or candidates talk about the things they care about, well, it’s pretty simple: these politicians know which people do vote and which don’t. If young adults actually voted, many elected officials would be more inclined to address issues that are important to young adults.
According to CIRCLE, right now in America there are 46 million young people, ages 18-29, who are eligible to vote and only 39 million seniors who are currently eligible to vote.
This young voter group is currently larger than any other age group; however, most candidates continue to ignore these young voters since they currently only vote at half the rate as older generations do. Politicians will continue to ignore young voters who are not participating in the system they believe does not work for them. What if I told you that it isn’t that the system is not working for you, but instead, it’s a system working for the ones participating in it? Again, for most of you, it isn’t you.