2018-11-07 / Editorial


Martha Chalker

There are over 83 million Millennials in the U. S. and many of them don’t vote. This needs to change! Young voters account for half of the voting population and they could represent a powerful political force. Unfortunately, not all who can vote will vote, meaning fewer young people get to directly influence issues that may affect their lives for years to come. Students and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 29 could be a powerful influence on key issues in every election.

Why is it important for young people to vote? Young voters are needed more than ever in local, state and national elections because these elections will directly affect not only them but their children for years down the road. Many young people feel their vote doesn’t count and use that as a reason for not participating in an election. Millennials reported feeling especially disillusioned by both presidential candidates before the election in 2016, and many chose to sit out altogether. In fact, only 19 percent of those aged 18 to 29 cast their vote that year.

Young people were some of those hit the hardest in the great recession in the early 2000s. Burdened by college loan debts and a lack of jobs their financial futures were very much in jeopardy. Many of those young people have gotten back on their feet in a recovering economy. Now, policy changes and financial reform in areas affecting young people are crucial. The situation will only get better when young voters get inspired and show their support for the candidates who best represent their needs. Adulthood brings many new challenges, like marriage, buying a house, paying for your own health insurance and/or starting a business. All these issues can change your perspective on political issues.

It’s easier than ever to be an educated voter. It’s no longer an excuse not to vote because you don’t know enough about the candidates. Social media has become as crucial as the candidate’s own website for disseminating information about relevant issues. The current online climate allows all voters to form a fuller picture of the candidates and their platforms.

Young voters are an incredibly diverse group. The divisive nature of politics is not lost on today’s young people. In fact, they are the first demographic group likely to challenge the basic two-party system; potentially driving the need for alternative political parties whom they feel can represent the needs of a diverse population. According to thebestcolleges.org, the same young adults in 2016 who were more likely to identify as liberals were also less likely to identify as Democrats. At the same time, a higher percentage of young voters identified with independent political views, rather than Republican or Democrat in the last three presidential elections.

If you are one of the young people who didn’t vote and are unhappy with the current political climate, speak up, make a choice and take part in the next election to protect your interests. No matter your age or history of voting, start now. Research how to register to vote and become educated and prepared for the future of your local, state and national politics.

Participating in politics is a hard won right in our nation. Young Americans, you have such potential for affecting change when you exercise your right to vote!

Martha Chalker is a life and business coach with more than twenty years experience. She can be reached at 706-564- 4458.

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