Millennials have recently surpassed baby-boomers as the largest generation in the American electorate. So why are we flopping in voter turnout?
In the presidential election in 2008 18 – 24 year olds had an average voting rate of 48.5 percent. For the same year, 25 – 44 year-olds voted at a rate of 60%. Individuals aged 45 – 64 years voted at a rate of 69.2 percent. The age group including those over the age of 65 voted at 70.3 percent. While most people assume that the older generation is more likely to vote, few consider what these percentages actually mean in terms of representation.
A data set considering the years of 1996 – 2012 found that the age group including 18 – 29 year-olds made up an average of 21.3 percent of the U.S. population eligible to vote. However, this group consists of only 15 percent of voters. Individuals over the age of 65 comprised 17.6 percent of the population eligible to vote. That same group was responsible for 20.2 percent of the voting population.
The verdict is clear: Millennials are under-represented in elections. But we don’t have the right to be mad. We created this problem.
Our generation has made such widespread efforts to engage in political issues on college campuses. We are responsible for a large part of the political social media presence. We have brought about a different way of promoting political causes. There is no question as to whether or not we are passionate.
The only idea we seem to be projecting to other generations is we are a joke.
If we as a generation are serious about the change we are passionately trying to enact then we must vote. Moreover, we must vote responsibly. We need to prove that we are not a malleable group of individuals. We can’t afford to be filled with indifference or misconception. We can’t simply focus on the few issues that are popular amongst our peers. Too many individuals base their opinions on the masses. We must be a generation of well-educated individuals firm in their values.
Millennials need to get educated and get voting.