Katrina Prigge is a senior international studies major.
Karina Prigge is a junior international studies major.

Last week’s midterm election results showed that voters have little faith in the Democratic party — handing Republicans full control of Congress. I find the election results troubling, because filling our Senate and House of Representatives with right-wing politicians does nothing to support the interests of young voters, like student debt, health care and gender rights. Thus, the midterm election results have subsequently caused an uproar among young voters, a demographic I myself am a part of, but what U.S. citizens between the ages of 18-29 have seemingly failed to understand is that in order to see both government policies and politicians reflect their interests, they must not only register, but also vote.

The Washington Examiner calls the midterm elections, a “Midterm postmortem” as Democrats failed to draw young voters to the polls. The problem that lies at the core of this Democratic failure is that young people are adamant about change, but do not necessarily want to take the steps to reform the system by simply registering to vote or show up at the polls. It is shocking that only 13 percent of young voters overall participated in last Tuesday’s elections. Of those who did vote between the ages of 18-29, 54 percent voted for Democrats, while the other 43 percent went to the Republicans. These numbers reveal the priorities and attention of voters today. Young voters need to be proactive and seize upon their right to vote, if they want to see their interests reflected in government policy. We cannot demand change to happen without taking action as simple as voting. If young voters want to see change, they must vote for the representatives that express their same values and ideas, rather than be passive towards the government that we will inherit.

The Grand Old Party has become very good at bringing in the votes, which has subsequently led to House and Senate domination. There is also an increase in evidence that the G.O.P is creating obstacles that prevent young voters — but also minorities and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds — who typically vote as Democrats, from voting, which ensures their party’s success in the polls. The low voter turnout evidenced by the midterm election confirms that young people do not prioritize their votes because they are not willing to go through the trouble of jumping through the Republican-sanctioned loopholes to partake in their civic, constitutional right.

This is especially reflected in swing states or states that historically vote Republican. Texas accepted concealed handgun licences as legitimate identification at polling locations, but not student ID cards. Ohio and North Carolina have both passed laws that enforce stricter requirements for voting registration. Steven Yaccino and Lizette Alvarez from the New York Times have reported on the Republicans’ hopes of limiting voting power among swing states: “North Carolina has sharply reduced the number of early voting days and established rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.”

It is unfair to complain about government issues if a person does not care to act upon their civic responsibility. It is imperative that young voters between 18-29 understand that they will be inheriting this government — whether it works for them or not. Thus, young voters need to find it important enough to be educated on what policies and issues are confronting our government, because it will eventually affect not only them, but the rest of the nation. There needs to be a discussion about the G.O.P. discriminating against young voters, minorities and the poor from voting, and work towards fixing this seemingly rigged system. Some experts argue that young voters are not interested in partisan politics, and that campaigns tend to overlook young voters because politicians do not know how to appeal to them. Finally, young voters need to realize how much weight their vote does carry.


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