As I walk about the busy campus of UW Tacoma, I am constantly reminded of the difference in demographics between the majority population of younger students and myself. I am not shy, so I choose to interact with any of my classmates who will engage in conversation with me. All these young minds are vibrant, fresh, full of vigor and dreams, hopes and ideas. But are these wonderful resources making their way into the political arena?
In 2008, according to multiple independent poll studies, as well as official records, the 18-25 year old population weighed in on the presidential race. 66 percent chose Obama, while only 32 percent supported McCain. This turnout was well beyond expectations and government poll experts were pleasantly surprised. It was not to last, however, as in the 2012 elections, it dropped to 60 percent supporting Obama and 37 percent supporting Romney. Obama won the 18-25 age voters, and lost the 45 year + voters in several states, including Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. And yet despite losing the 45+ age group, he won the electoral votes for all these states.
That tells us something, young people can be influential and are being heard. Young people are able to effect change and it doesn’t have to stop with choosing who is going to sit in the White House. There are many more issues to be weighed in on and although it is not only young people who tend to pay less attention to elections when the presidential election is not on the ballot, everyone’s voice can still be heard.
This year, there are many things listed in the voter’s pamphlet that are being considered. In your district, there are council seats, court positions, and school board seats. On the state level this year, there is initiative 1351 to reduce class sizes. Other initiatives include initiative 591 regarding gun seizure and initiative 594 requiring background checks for gun owners.
I know you have an opinion, so, now is your chance to weigh in.
Voting may not guarantee that you get everything that you want, but your vote does have a direct impact on what will be put in place in the upcoming years. If you don’t intend to take the few minutes needed to review the voter’s pamphlet and fill out a ballot, then you really have no reason to complain about the outcome.
So think of it this way: it is your future. How do you want to see it written? Get out November 4, 2014 and vote! Don’t have time? Boarding away from your home? Absentee ballots can be requested and mailed to you. Even if it’s too late for this year’s election, you can set it up for all future elections.
Not registered? Well, what are you waiting for? You can register on line, at piercecountyelections.org, or call (253) 798-VOTE. Be heard, share your bright ideas, and be part of the change you want to see in your world.