Why Young People Do Not Vote

To the average social media user, people telling them to vote may seem like nothing. Voting in the United States is simple enough right? Not true, to vote in the United States, you cannot simply send in a ballot. In most states you must register, and to register you must have the proper identification. If you do not have the people identification, then you must pay a fee to obtain it. If you do not have early voting in your state- or are not able to send in an absentee ballot, you must take time off work or school to go and vote on the voting day. In some states, you may have to wait in lines over an hour before you can even start to vote. If you cannot drive, or do not have a car, or are not mobile you have to find a ride, and find a center to accommodate your needs. 

For the average middle-aged American with a stable job voting is easy. You can follow any one of these steps. For anyone else, voting is a hard-tedious task. For college students who may be out of state, with a job they cannot take time off to miss, or any other instability they may have, voting may not be something you merely have the time for.  Any small obstacle could discourage you from voting. This is one of the major reasons why voting for young people is much lower than for other groups.

Illustration by: Jenny Kroik

You may see ads urging you to go out and vote, or if your over 18 just to registers, but it is not always that easy. Having a busy unstable life makes it hard to even do the seemingly easiest of civil duties. 

On top of all these obstacles, young people feel discouraged to vote because of the results of the last presidential election. In 2016, 55% of young adults voted for Hillary Clinton while Donald trump received 37% of the young vote. To have that much distance between candidates and for the lesser to win has left a lasting impression on young voters in both a positive and a negative manner. Some young voters saw this as an opportunity to stand up or what they believe in and get more young people to vote. Only about half of people aged 18-24 participate in voting during elections, so to get more of them to vote can have a positive turnout. Other saw this as a depressive state and got discouraged from voting ever again. They saw how little they believe their vote to mean in the bigger picture and feel like the government does not really care about what they have to say. Others just do not want to vote and lose again because they feel that loss so sorely.

Trying to convince people to vote is a great thing to do, but first we should look at the reasons why they do not vote, and work to make the process accessible to everyone. Voting is already limited by age and citizenship, so a smaller population is eligible, if it is too hard for that eligible population to vote, the numbers will not show the truth about how the country feels.