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An Open Letter to the Millennials Who Didn’t Vote

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.​

What did you do today with that hour you saved on Election Day by not going to the polls? Was the future of our country really not worth standing in line for for a little while? Are you so apathetic to the struggles of those around you that you thought you’d just take the day off?

I watched you laugh and shrug it off while you talked about how you didn’t go to vote. I heard you say you “didn’t have time.” I listened as you complained about the candidates. 

The consequences of this election are real. You don’t get to “go back.” You can’t vote two years in when you realize you made a grave mistake with your silence. 

Voting is a right for U.S. citizens and it is one that did not come easily. It was a right so many were denied for so long and a right that can be lost if this country is placed in the wrong hands.

Not every country is a democracy. Not every country allows people to vote. Not every country gives its citizens a voice. And not even every person in this country can vote. 

U.S. citizens living in territories Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico cannot vote for the president. In many states convicted felons cannot vote for president, even after they’ve served their time. People living and working in the U.S. who are not U.S. citizens cannot vote. People who are not 18 years old on by election day are not eligible to vote.

Those who cannot vote, but are affected by the outcome of the election needed you to vote. This election was bigger than you; it’s bigger than us. The results of this election will have an effect all around the world. As Trump’s lead became increasingly clear, stocks started falling. If this is any indication of what’s to come, we have a lot to worry about. 

Maybe you didn’t want to inconvenience yourself on Tuesday, but let me tell you, I think you’ll have a hard time justifying not taking an hour of your day to weigh in on a decision that will affect the next four years, at the very least.

You want to complain about a broken system and things in the country you don’t like, but you chose to stay silent when the microphone was handed to you. No one can force you to speak and no one is going to want to listen to your complaining or read your rants on Facebook when you didn’t take even the most basic of actions.

You claimed you didn’t like the candidates. You said they were both corrupt so you couldn’t bring yourself to vote. You had to know one of them would become president. You viewed the options as a choice between the “lesser of two evils,” but when it came down to the final moments you didn’t make a choice. If the candidates could be called “evil” you may have let the evilest one win. And why? What did you gain by choosing not to vote? You could have done your research. You could have done your best to make an informed decision. Instead you chose to do nothing. You chose apathy.

To be honest, I don’t really care that you didn’t like either of the presidential candidates. That was only one bubble on the ballot. There was a lot of reason to vote and there were a lot of things and people to vote for. Your local government is your most direct route to expressing your concerns and having your voice heard. Your town, your city, it’s not perfect. You needed to vote. You should have voted. There were plenty of reasons to vote.

You let us down. You are part of the problem. When people complain about our generation, when they say that we’re complainers, that we’re apathetic, that we’re lazy, they are talking about you. 

There are people in my community and in this country who are legitimately scared. Our country elected a man who promoted a lot of hatred and you did nothing. Don’t try to push the rest of us in conversation during this trying time. Don’t complain to us about how much this election “sucks” or tell us that you “feel bad” for people. You did nothing. I’m disappointed in you. A lot of us are.


Your fellow millennial who voted

Jessica is a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at VCU, a Chapter Advisor and a retired Campus Expansion Assistant. She will graduate in May 2017, earning Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her core areas of study include photography, journalism and media studies. In addition to school and her work with Her Campus, Jessica works at her university library as an information associate.
Iris was the associate editor at Her Campus. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications and gender studies, but was born and raised in France with an English mother. She enjoys country music, the color pink and pretending she has her life together. Iris was the style editor and LGBTQ+ editor for HC as an undergrad, and has interned for Cosmopolitan.com and goop. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @irisgoldsztajn, or check out her writing portfolio here.