In the 2016 presidential elections, the youngest voting generation in America once again fulfilled the historical norm: only 46.1% of 18–29-year-olds voted, according to the US Census Bureau. 18–29-year-olds are the least likely age range to vote, and Cole Curry, a junior political science major, says, “What studies have shown us is that those that are 24 years [and] younger are even less likely to vote than what those numbers show.”
Midterm elections will occur in California on November 6, 2018, and with it comes another chance for the people of America to voice their opinions. Evan Strawn, a junior political science major, says how simple voting is: “You don’t have to have a ton of money, experience, or expertise to influence the outcome of elections. As a student, you can select your preference for the future direction of the country simply by going to a local polling station for a few minutes or voting by mail.”
Lindsey Lupo, a professor of political science, has insight into why the younger generation does not go to the polling booth. She says, “The research tells us that the millennial generation is a volunteering generation, and not so much a generation keen on participating in traditional ways in the political system.” She points to how active 18–29-year-olds are in protests, boycotts and volunteering, but not in voting. This is an unusual trend, as previous researchers assumed that politically active individuals would have taken part in the easiest step toward political efficacy: voting.
Lauren Cazares, a junior political science and communication major, says that despite the common argument, your one vote can make a difference. “Some elections come down to a handful of votes. A recent city council election in Chula Vista came down to one vote.” She also says how important voting in midterm elections is: “In all honesty, local elections and voting on local propositions probably affect our lives a lot more directly than these ‘major’ elections do.”
Lupo says, “If you really want to change the world and be a changemaker, it is not enough to just volunteer, you need to change the system.” She points to how proud students feel upon voting, and how participating in politics often feels like officially reaching adulthood.
The first step toward voting in the upcoming elections is registering to vote. If you’re not already registered, you must before October 22 in order to participate in the November 6 election. You can register online at vote.gov. Curry confirms how simple it is, saying, “It takes a few minutes on a laptop and POOF, BOOM, POW. You’re registered! I helped a friend register in the caf before I could eat half my omelet!”
Maddy Garrett, a senior political science major, says that the History and Political Science Honors Societies are holding a voter registration drive on Caf Lane on Monday, October 15 from 10:15 p.m.–12:15 p.m. There will be laptops and help available for students registering online, as well as stickers and donuts for those who stop by to register.