A few weeks ago, some friends and I decided we wanted to stop by a certain political party headquarters to get some lawn signs to support our favored candidate. Whilst we were there, we asked some party official if they would like some help from us on election day.
The official gladly accepted our help, and assigned us all to different tasks. I was assigned to be an unofficial name checker for my political party. While I was marking off names and observing the voters coming in, my blood pressure rose. It was apparent to me that I saw only one youth voter come to cast a ballot.
Since I am not quite of age to register to vote, I was eager to place my vote for Selectman, Town Clerk, and more, so I could attribute to the voice of the youth, but, being unable to do so, it was highly aggravating to see that the youth that I was a part of took no active role in this election.
Once my shift was over at the middle school, I made an appearance to the different voting districts to observe if youth were in other parts of the town casting votes… none, absolutely none, from what I observed.
Now, for those of you who know Mr. Gruendel (he teaches Current Issues, APUSHistory, and Worldviews, etc.), he always jokingly threatens his students with the fact that if he one day finds out that we didn’t take advantage of our constitutional right to vote, he would find us and fail us- after we’ve graduated. As absurd and hilarious as that sounds, he makes a very good point. Why weren’t there any voters from the youth at the polls this past Tuesday?
According to Cirlce, it is interesting to know that 45% of young people age 18-29 voted in 2012, down from 51% in 2008. Additionally,
- 46 million young people ages 18-29 years old are eligible to vote, while 39 million seniors are eligible to vote
- Young people (18-29) make up 21% of the voting eligible population in the U.S.
Project Vote tells us that
- Approximately 21 million citizens under the age of 30 did not vote in 2008.
- If younger citizens had voted at the same rate as those aged 30 and over, 7 million more people would have cast ballots in the election.
The votes from the youth whom did not vote could have drastically changed the course of our nation. What students and young adults, who are indifferent to voting, do not realize is that the most crucial parts of their early lives including student loans, taxes, and health care are all things that could potentially be based on one vote.
In Branford,out of the 30,000 some odd number of residents living in Branford, only 7,246 cast official votes, according to the town’s official polling count. Take into account that out of the 30,000, only about 20,000 or so are adults, and less than that are registered voters. Still, we need to know that the minimum number of registered voters is around 10 or 15,000. So, the big question, where we the other few thousand of voters yesterday?
The one vote you cast is equally as important as the millions cast in each election. And, if you do vote, you will have the right to complain, considering you gave your input through the election. If you don’t vote, some believe you cannot justifiably complain about what is happening in the country at the time, considering at one point, that voter was totally indifferent.
It is all of our civic duties to take an active role in voting for our local officials, president, senators, and more. Your vote DOES count, but only if you make it count.
I have high hopes of seeing more young faces at the polls next time around- you know where you’ll find me.
Congratulations to Jamie Cosgrove on becoming Branford’s new Selectman.