Young People are the Missing Link in American Politics

by Terianne

Matthias Burnett, Pastor, during a sermon in 1803 said, “Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust.” As United States citizens, we have a right and civic duty to elect officials who make decisions for us.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 64.9 percent of the total population was registered in 2008. Of that percentage, only 58.2 percent of the population voted in the General Election. Only 44.3 percent of young people, ages 18-24, reported voting; while 53.4 percent of the age group was registered to vote.

Within the age group of 18-24 years old, 56.6 percent of women in that age group reported voting, and 41 percent of men in the same group reported voting. These numbers are small for people between the ages of 18-24, and most would agree that this age group has the least turn out to vote on Election Day.

In a blog posted on npr.org about the importance of the youth vote, the youth are called the “missing link in American politics”.

The importance of voting comes from the numbers above. The less people show up to vote, the less the American voice is heard by the elected officials.

According to massvote.org, People who participate in voting carry benefits over those who do not participate. “Among the most studied are that voters are known to be more engaged in other activities like volunteering or contacting their election official. They are more informed about local affairs and a contributor to their neighborhood’s “social capital”,” quoted from massvote.org.

Those who come out to vote are more informed. This is another aspect of being an active voter: knowing what the issues are.

Sarah Cappo, William Jewell College senior, talked about the importance of being an educated voter. It’s important to know one’s own beliefs, then do research to find a candidate who fits within those beliefs, Cappo said. For example, don’t vote republican just because your parents do, vote for who matches with your ideals, Cappo said.

One of the issues Cappo is passionate about is how student loans will be allocated and what will happen with the entire program. “It’s important for us as young people to have a voice in a decision that affects us so much,” Cappo said.

Please check out the websites below for more information on the importance of voting as a youth in the United States.

http://www.civicyouth.org/quick-facts/youth-voting/

http://www.massvote.org/the-importance-of-voting/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/08/05/158128883/the-youth-vote-2012-once-again-with-enthusiasm

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2008/tables.html

To find out when voting polls open in your state, please visit http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G12/PollingHours.phtml?format=g.Image