The Youth Vote is Changing American Politics (Opinion)

10.12.18
Vote graffiti in San Francisco. (Photo Credit: Kodak Views via Flickr)
10.12.18

In this year’s midterm elections, the most explosive voting demographic will be coming from college campuses across the country. The young people are organizing to vote in full force.

Last weekend we saw the successful execution of the #WeVoteNext Summit put on by actress Yara Shahidi’s Eighteen x 18 initiative to engage the next generation of America’s voters, the young people. This summit brought together young people from all across the country who represented their respective states as “delegates”. Events like this are the proving ground for the next generation of this country’s leaders.

The voter turnout during the 2016 presidential election was undoubtedly a major disappointment. With only 58% of eligible voters turning out to the polls, it was evident that work had to be done to ensure that a number this low would never be seen again. Going back, voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was at 37%, even more strikingly low. It is a firm possibility however that with the work young people are currently doing, that number will double for this year’s midterms.

The March for Our Lives organization is currently working in massive numbers to create what they hope to be is the “largest youth voter turnout in history”. They have now started the “Vote For Our Lives” campaign stressing the importance of the youth vote and the power that this vote has to make a difference. The group has also started a #TurnoutTuesday series in which they implore young folks to join their call to action in getting people registered to vote with the hope of people electing morally sound leaders to our government. They’ve even transitioned their Twitter handle to TurnoutTuesday, shifting the center of their activism.

The question on everyone’s minds is most likely, how effective will this be? At the rate these younger folks are going, they are undoubtedly on pace to change the world. In the past several years we have seen more activism and civic engagement from younger folks than we have seen possibly in decades. The fire that these young people have within them to make a difference and do so within their own demographic is beyond inspiring. Young activists such Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Clifton Kinnie, and Ziad Ahmed are just a few of the many activists around the world who are single handedly leaving the world better than they found it. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past several months at least when it comes to what’s best to spark a difference in the youth vote, it’s to get out of their way and let them take the lead.

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