Future of democracy depends on young voters

Story by Elise Palmer, Features Editor

Turning 18 is a huge milestone for the majority of American teenagers. By finally reaching the age of legality, a person gains a number of privileges and responsibilities, including the newfound ability to vote.

Voting in this day and age is imperative, and young people need to step up in order for their voices to be heard. According to CivicYouth.org, less than half of eligible young people (ages 18-29) voted in the 2016 general election. This number is significantly low, and does not properly represent the younger generation, which in total, accounts for 21 percent of the total eligible voting population.

Many of my friends, some of whom are turning 18 in the next few months, have voiced to me that ‘voting doesn’t matter’ anymore. This thinking is ridiculous, and this thinking is a sign of surrender. If all young people adopted this mindset, the future of our country would abandon their voices. Young people are the future, and we need to understand that our political voice is crucial for a correctly functioning democracy.

High school students need to register to vote, for the 2018 midterm elections are right around the corner in November. Students who will be 18 by Nov. 8 that missed early registration can still register at early voting sites during the early voting period (Oct. 17 to Nov. 3) with same-day registration.

If you are a young person or know of any young people who missed out on the opportunity to register early, you need to emphasize the importance of same-day registration. In the past, I’ve heard a number of people complain about the same-day registration process. They say that the process is lengthy, stressful, and it requires way too many documents. These characteristics may be true, but having the ability to vote makes it all worth it.

With the current political climate so polarizing, many young people, including many at East Meck, are finding their way on the political spectrum. Groups that tackle political issues, like the Activism Club, Common Ground, and the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), are making their presence known around East’s student body.

The weight a vote can hold is immense. By casting ballots, we are determining our future. I hope to see many of my peers at the polls in the next coming weeks. Together, we can make a difference.