2008 was an exciting election for many reasons, but particularly interesting is that we saw a return of young adult voters to the polls. Despite this spike, the trend is not expected to continue in the 2012 elections. 1972, 53 percent of young adults voted, starkly contrasted by year 2000 where only 36 percent did. So why don’t we vote?
Political experts have tried to target this issue for a while now. Perhaps an explanation could be that Gen Y has proved we are waiting longer to start careers, get married, begin families and purchase houses; and the recession surely isn’t making any of those goals easier to achieve! We vote to protect or change what we have – money, marriage, and homeownership being most important. But if we don’t have those things, do we feel like we don’t have a “dog in the fight”?
Why should we vote if we feel we don’t have much at stake? Because we can actually make a difference! I know I’ve often thought “my one vote won’t make a difference” – but think of the impact that could be made if millions of us with this same sentiment all voted. Another reason is that decisions made today WILL eventually affect us, and our children, marriages, homes and money. Issues like Global Warming are scary to think about our children and grandchildren living through if they go unnoticed now. More importantly, democracies only work if we’re all active citizens. What sets our government apart is the right to speak up, disagree, be different and make a change if we want to take action.
Like many of you, I am also conflicted on who the right candidate is. But there are many resources to help. I’ve found that Rock The Vote has a lot of great fresh information for young voters. Also, you can take the presidential election quiz on I Side With to see which candidate most closely represents your beliefs. It’s time for us to grow up and make informed decisions based on our own assessments, and to stop living our parents opinions.
If you live in Mecklenburg County, you can skip the lines and vote early up until this Saturday. For a complete listing of times and locations, click here. Honor history, respect those who have given us this right, and make your voice heard by voting on Tuesday, November 6th!