Home > B3 and B4, Learning > Youth Voters: Our Time is Now

Youth Voters: Our Time is Now

Out of the many concepts related to elections, voter participation was a topic that really affected me in particular. We examined what percentage of youth voted and what motivated them to fulfill their civic duty and vote. I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of the youth we were examining and think, “this will be me in one short year.”

What fascinated me was the steady increase in youth voter participation from the year 2000 to today, as seen in our textbook. We learned from author Shea that in the 18-24 year old demographic, in the years 2000, 2004, and 2008, youth voter participation increased from 32.2% to 41.9% to 48.5%, respectively (Shea, 152). Despite there being attitudinal change, or the role of news media affecting the voter turnout negatively, there has still been an increase in youth voting. What is going to motivate myself to vote when the time comes?  More so, this leads me to ask the question, what is causing a generation that is periodically stereotyped as lazy and lacking care to vote, and even naive?

 Cartoon found at Brian Dennert’s blog

After reading through statistics on how voting increased, I continued to explore the CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning and Engagement) site, I found much information stating that youth want to vote when they are sought out with a quality contact. The answer to why many youths vote is fairly simple: young voters will vote when a campaign campaigns to them.  What the message is does not concern young voters; it is how the message is communicated. Young voters respond when they feel that campaigns are speaking directly to them. This is why informative e-mails, Facebook groups, and engaging Twitter accounts are so important to capture the attention of young voters today. Social media seems to consume young people in today’s world, so why not use it for productivity? Implementing social media into the tools to capture the minds of youth voters can lead to a monumental increase in youth voter participation.

In addition to youth being campaigned to, we want our government to have the share the youth’s passion for the issues we care about the most.  According to the graph below presented by  Complete Campaigns, youth care most about the economy and jobs.

Caring most about jobs and the economy, it is clear that today’s youth is most concerned about financial security for their futures. The key to campaigns engaging youth is showing them that  the candidate cares about similar issues. Presenting this shared care of issues is another thing that motivates youth to become involved in the political process.

In my opinion, voter participation has been one of the most vital things I have learned this past trimester. Learning how campaigns will want to secure my vote when the time comes helped me understand why young people vote, as well as why it is so important to get young voters attention. Young voters, my generation, are the future of the country. Our opinions matter equally, if not greater, than the generation running the country currently. Most of all, this lesson motivated me to definitely participate in voting when my time comes.

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  1. djkirby26
    May 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    When it comes to voter participation being an influence i agree with you on the fact that young voters have an effect on the election. it was good that you had lots of statistical evidence, and maybe cite your sources on the first sentence of your second paragraph.

  2. miranduhmoe
    May 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Megan, it’s Miranda!!!!!!! I thought your reflection was really influential, especially because everything you are saying applies to our generation’s future. However, one thing I would change is to further discuss what issues that apply to us that can be captured by media. What are the issues that we want to see being discussed. Other than that, I have to say I am quite impressed by your writing!

  3. nbkennard
    May 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I completely agree, Megan. I never understood why our generation was stereotyped this way especially when looking at the statistics from the book. One of the great points that you made was that “young voters will vote when a campaign campaigns to them”. This is 100% correct. People of our generation aren’t going to get out and vote for someone that they aren’t completely sure has their best interest in mind and even then it’s difficult without the media campaigning that you referred to. One thing that you might consider doing is giving an example of when this campaigning has worked out or failed in the past. Great post!

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