Why Your Vote Counts (In More Ways Than One)


Kristen Conklin

According to the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 62 million Millennials old enough to vote in the U.S. in 2016.

The arrival of fall means several things: cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes and the Midterm Elections. For older generations, participation in such a high-profile election is as logical as 2 + 2 = 4. For younger generations, however, significant participation is nearly nonexistent when compared to that of older generations. Year after year, regardless of the type of election, younger generations fail to take advantage of their voting privileges, which results in dissatisfaction towards the American political system and government. Regardless of political viewpoints, Millenials and of-age Gen Zers need to acknowledge the importance of their vote, what their vote is capable of, and use it.  

Most of-age voters in younger generations are stuck in the mentality that their vote does not matter, a mindset which discourages many from participating in elections. According to The Texas Tribune, the state voter turnout for 18 to 24-year-olds in the 2016 general election was the lowest of all age groups at 27.3 percent. On the other hand, voters aged 65+ had the highest voter turnout at a whopping 65 percent. The extreme disconnect between the political values of younger and older generations is often dismissed by the ‘laziness’ of young voters, but The Texas Tribune said older generations are more likely to “pay closer attention to issues that may draw voters to the polls.”  

As the political climate of the state continues to shift, the younger generations need to become more involved in voting because they will be the ones who have to live through the decades-long result of the elections. In the 2016 Presidential Election, the Texas Secretary of State reported 78.21 percent of voting age population residents as registered to vote, but only 46.45 percent of those residents participated in the election. The voting system was created to provide U.S. citizens in all 50 states with a fair way to express their political opinions and desire for changes in the government. Without engaging with the system, younger generations will not see the political changes they want. If the younger generation of voters can shift their attitudes from indifference towards voting to realizing its importance, the results could be enough to tip the scale of politics this midterm election.

Early voting for the 2018 Midterm Election will close Friday. The official day of voting for the midterms is Nov. 6. You can register to vote here.