Last week, I had the privilege of participating in my very first presidential election in my hometown, Falls Church, Virginia. I was surprised to be greeted by one of the volunteers telling me “you’re the first young voter we’ve seen all day today!” I’m not sure I was expecting exactly, but I definitely did not expect to be one of the only young student voters in a 100+ people line – at least during the two hours I spent waiting.
I could sit here and argue that the lack of young voter participation that day was due to timing or due to school stress, or even the stress of the pandemic, but let’s face it – statistics have proven to us, election after election, that young eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 make up the smallest share of voters. Unfortunately, in the 2016 Presidential Election, only 56.9% of eligible voters casted their vote, and only 19% were voters between the ages of 18 and 29.
However, I am optimistic this year! New data shows that over 3 million young people have voted early or absentee, as of October 22, 2020. We are arguably the most empathetic generation due to the social, political, and economic challenges that we are currently facing, so I am hopeful that our voices as young voters will be heard this election more than any other election. We are not only responsible for voting on behalf of our generation, but we are especially responsible for voting on behalf of future generations who, just like us not too long ago, don’t have a voice yet.
So why vote? Here are my top 10 reasons:
- Vote for the children who don’t have a voice in an election that affects them just as much.
- Vote for the children who never had access to education in under resourced communities.
- Vote for the children who once had access to education but no longer do so due to the pandemic.
- Vote for the children who won’t know what in-person education is due to the mismanagement of the pandemic.
- Vote for the children who will be hit the hardest due to the lack of action on climate change.
- Vote for the children who have been separated from their families at U.S. borders in the past four years.
- Vote for the children impacted by police brutality.
- Vote for the children who lack access to basic healthcare.
- Vote for empathy.
- Vote for the children’s future, which is a vote for our future.
I know my voice matters. Yours does too! So please vote.