That was the youth turnout rate for 18 to 29 year olds in the 2014 midterms: less than one in five qualified young voters voted.
In 2018, we have to change that.
Much like 2014, we are entering a midterm election, which receives lower publicity and turnout. However, these elections are incredibly important because they shape what our Congress, our state legislatures, and our governor’s mansion will look like in a few months. This year, 36 governors, 1⁄3 of our senators, all 435 House members, and thousands of local candidates from mayors to Board of Education members are running to represent you. These are the people who will craft policies that will affect our lives, maybe even for decades to come.
They will appoint members of the Supreme Court who will be sitting on the bench for decades. They will decide who gets to vote in the future (and whether we repeal voter suppression laws, including Voter ID laws in North Dakota, exact-match laws in Georgia, and felony disenfranchisement in Florida). They will decide whether we’ll still have access to Social Security benefits when we retire. In short, they will decide our futures.
That’s why if you’re 18 or above and are eligible to vote, you should vote! You contribute to our democracy and make it stronger. You choose the future that all of us will live in. You give politicians an incentive to listen to our voices, and tailor policies in our interest.
If you’re under 18 or ineligible to vote, don’t despair! Sign up to find a proxy and ask them to vote on your behalf. As a young person, your voice still matters, and you still have a stake in our democracy. You can sign up here to increase turnout and make an impact: theproxyproject.net.
This election is not just another election. Political candidates are running, but they aren’t the only thing on the ballot. Family separation is on the ballot. Gun control is on the ballot. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are on the ballot. The Supreme Court is on the ballot. Social Security is on the ballot. Criminal justice is on the ballot. Reproductive rights are on the ballot.
Our future is on the ballot.
When Tuesday comes around, don’t forget the pain of families who were ripped apart at the border. Don’t forget the wildfires in California and the natural disasters spurred on by climate change. Don’t forget the assault on LGBTQ+ rights in America. Don’t forget the Muslim ban, the fear-mongering, the school shootings, the Paris Climate Accords, the “fine people” who chanted “Jews will not replace us,” the murder of Khashoggi, the Conference in Helsinki, the Parkland shooting, the black families who have lost their sons and daughters to police brutality that has been ignored and disregarded, and the millions more who are suffering today because of the policies of this administration.
Channel your frustration, your pain, and your anger into action, and please, vote on November 6.
Find polling locations near you:
Check if you’re registered: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/
Uber, Lyft, and public transportation agencies are offering free rides to the polls:
Bio: Ranen is a high school senior at Millburn High School who is passionate about politics, philanthropy, and public policy.