Why Don’t Young People Vote

Photo: wikipedia.org

Brooke McAteer

News Writing Student

Harry Woods

News Writing Student

It’s that time again! Election Day is Nov. 6 and there are many young people eligible to vote in the 2012 election. They turned out strong for Barack Obama in 2008 but will they do it again this time?

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), college students make up 24 percent of the voting population. That’s about 46 million voters between the ages of 19 and 21, compared to the almost 39 million voters over age 65.

But before young people can vote, they have to be registered.

Miranda Cook, an L&C student who is working on the Dr. David Gills congressional campaign for the 13th district, has been on the move with volunteers to get the youth involved and more educated on voting.

“It’s your duty as an American,” said Cook.

More than 58 students registered to vote at L&C. Cook and her volunteers set up tables at Fall Fest to encourage young people to register and get familiar with the importance of voting.

“It’s important to vote. Voting isn’t made a priority anymore,” said Cook.

According to the Census Bureau, there has been a decrease in voting among young people although 2008 and 2004 were outliers in what has been a historical declining turnout rate since the 1960s.

So why don’t people want to vote this time around as they did last time?

“I am not well-enough informed to make a decision.  Also, my vote doesn’t count,” said Megan Straub, a college student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Two of the biggest issues that will most likely get young people to vote are the availability of grants and student loans for college students and the job market when they get out of school.

“The best way to decide on who to vote for is to educate yourself on the candidates and see which one could affect your life,” said Cook.

If you aren’t sure who to vote for, check out thepoliticalguide.com for candidate positions and factcheck.org to check out the truthfulness of candidate statements.

Richard Wiley, an alumnus of L&C Clark and now a student at SIUE cited voter registration hassles.

“Why vote?  They make it so hard to now,” he said.

According to USA Today, there are new laws going into effect around the country. In 14 states you have to have a valid photo id; in other states early voting is being eliminated and felons are banned from voting.

If people think issues won’t affect them they probably won’t vote so presidential candidates are going to have to pull out all the stops to get young people into the voter’s booth.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. If you’ve lost or misplaced your voter card, you can use your driver’s license as long as the address is the same on both your driver’s license and your voter card. To find a voting poll near you visit www.powerof12.org.

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