Gen Z, Your Vote Does Matter: Here’s Why

Grace Morrison, News Writer

      This election, young voters are hoping to break the pattern of low voter turnout rates across the country. In 2016, the young voter turnout was only 60%, with statistics from decades showing that this number does not often reach 80%. It is expected that this year’s overall voter turnout will be higher than usual. Young Americans, ages 18-29, make up 37% of the eligible voters in the upcoming 2020 election. 60% of young voters favor Biden, while 40% favor Trump. This large voting base could be critical to a Biden victory, and his campaign is doing its best to appeal to Gen Z.

     About 15 million people have turned 18 and are eligible to vote since the 2016 election. This means a large increase of Generation Z now have access to the vote. This demographic tends to hold more progressive viewpoints. A downfall of being a young voter is being uneducated. Brandon Williams ’21, a first time voter, commented, “I think that doing independent research is really important for first time voters, because we have to learn to be in the system.”

     This lack of experience and knowledge sometimes causes young people not to vote, because they feel unqualified. Young voters also have a higher chance of making a mistake on their mail-in ballot. Over the years, it has been proven that young people are interested in politics, but are intimidated by the many rules that must be followed when voting. Same day registration (registering when you go to vote) is an easy solution to this problem. Same day registration is just another step in the voting process, and there are poll workers there to help. Gianna Martinelli ‘22, who takes Global Politics and sees herself with a career in politics, commented, “I wish I could vote, especially because a lot of people feel like their vote is not going to do anything and throw it away.” When asked to give advice to people considering not voting, Martinelli stated, “I don’t care if you don’t get involved in politics. Just think about what would be best in your perfect world, and voting can actually help you achieve some of those goals.”

     Across multiple social media sharing platforms, users have been encouraged to stay politically informed and to vote. This year, politicians have spent more money on digital ads than T.V. ads. When asked where he receives his news, Williams stated, “a lot of my news comes from Twitter or my friends.” With big platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Spotify launching their own voter registration and voting campaigns, it is no wonder young people are predicted to turn out at the polls. Specifically, Snapchat’s newest update allows users to register to vote, and get help filling out a ballot. 73% of american ages 18-24 use Snapchat. It is safe to assume that the app has influenced many young people to use their right to vote.

     Even if one isn’t old enough to vote, there are ways to get involved- at the very least, on can encourage eligible friends to register and vote. It is important to stay informed, and even pre-register to vote if you are 16 or 17 (depending on the state). For those considering not voting, Donald Morton, Upper School History teacher, said, “Why not? Why not. I think of all the people, and I’m different than some people, I’m thinking of all the people, not specific people, just the people who died in the Revolutionary War, the people that died in slavery that never got to realize the dream, all the women for almost 200 years that weren’t allowd to vote, all the blood that was spilled in the 20th century just for voting. This is one of the things that makes it really special to be an American, is to vote.”