Across the nation, young adults ages 18 to 24 are the least likely to vote in any election, and are the least politically aware. With graduation approaching, students are setting out to change the future of the country, yet many forgo their most important influence to the democratic process: casting a vote.
The main reason for this is misconception and laziness. The traditional excuse, “My vote doesn’t count” is hollow. The only time a vote doesn’t count is when it isn’t cast. Individually, a single vote may seem insignificant, but with millions of people each expressing their own opinions, votes gain weight. In California, most elections require a 50 plus one vote to determine the outcome. This means, in the extreme case, two votes could potentially tip an election one way or the other. Yet even in a more general sense the more people who vote, the more accurate the public’s view on issues in expressed.
Those who don’t vote are left with no voice in government. Over the last thirty years, benefits for children have been steadily shrinking, while the elderly have gained greater benefits and entitlements. Children can’t vote; the elderly are some of the most politically active American citizens. As such, their voices are heard and their needs met, while children and youth lose out. They cannot vote politicians out of office, nor support favorable legislation, while older generations are able to directly secure rights and benefits for themselves.
Not voting as soon as you can makes no sense. Education is failing, because those who benefit most either cannot or do not vote; only a slim number of graduating high school seniors are able to vote, and out of those even fewer choose to. As such, their wants and needs are not met. Older generations don’t benefit from increased funding for schools, as they have long since left. Only parents have a vested interest in seeing their children receive a better education, and only then if they take a stand. Virtually no one with a direct interest can vote in favor of it, except for those ages 18 to 24: recent high school graduates. And they simply don’t vote.
As seniors leave high school and enter the workforce or higher education, they need to actively try to make their voices heard. After all, if they don’t, no one else will.