Importance of young voter turnout

Importance of young voter turnout

Emma Shafer, Staff Writer

Since our country was founded, voting has always been a controversial issue. Restrictive voting laws used to exist that limit the type of person who could vote; such as land ownership, gender, and race.

Now, in 2018, all of those requirements are gone. Anyone who is 18 and older is allowed to vote, regardless of any of the aforementioned prerequisites. However, only 56.9% of all eligible voters turned out for the 2016 Presidential Election, according to the US Elections Project.

That is abysmally low. That also means that only 27% of Americans elected Donald Trump as President. Whether you supported him or not, that number isn’t enough to prove that he was the candidate that a majority of Americans supported.

Additionally, high voter turnout means that our government is much more representative of us as a people. When more people make their opinions known through their vote, it means that our officials are every bit more diverse and characteristic of every one of our citizens. Young voter turnout is especially necessary in the times that we are living in. With college expenses rising throughout our country, young people need to get out and vote in order to voice our concerns about the unfair costs we have to juggle.

A complaint I often hear among young citizens is that the government doesn’t listen to our concerns, and doesn’t care about the issues affecting us. I refuse to believe that no one cares- but elected officials often focus on issues that are important to the people who vote them into office. When young people don’t vote, there is no incentive or reason to implement policies that help our generation.

Whether one likes it or not, the potential policies that elected officials to choose to implement will affect our lives for years to come. Voting ensures that your voice and opinions matter in those decisions.

A hot topic issue that arose after the election in 2000 and then again in 2016 is the electoral college system that elects America’s president. According to CBS News in 2016, 54% of Americans believe that there should be an amendment to the Constitution that allows the popular vote to decide the presidency. Going forward, voting for candidates who support this change is the way to see the electoral college abolished quickly.

The only way to see a change in our country that reflects your views is to elect someone who represents what you believe in. The Illinois Democratic and Republican general primary elections will take place on March 20, 2018, and the general election will take place on November 6, 2018. The website to register to vote is

Emma Shafer can be reached at [email protected]