The 2018 Midterm Election had the highest voter turnout out of midterm elections in the past 104 years with 49.2 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. It is incredible that we have come so far as to have the highest voter turnout in the past 104 years, but it is extremely upsetting that the highest voter turnout was less than half. It is no secret how strongly Millennials and the Generation Z feel about the current state of our country. We have been pushing for an extreme turnout at the polls since long before campaigning even started, saying things like, “Vote them out,” and, “The young people will win.” Well our time was on Nov. 6th, where were you?
Student representatives from UConn even went as far as bringing their voter registration speeches and forms into lecture halls to encourage students to register to vote. If this happened in one of your lectures, and you were not registered to vote in this year’s midterm and you still are not registered, I condemn you. These people are working so hard to get you to vote that they may as well hold your hand and walk you to the polls. We are presented with so much opportunity here and students don’t take these opportunities because they are too lazy, “don’t have time,” or because it’s not convenient for them. This is a luxury that we have but should not be taking advantage of. There are so many students that are underrepresented. It doesn’t matter if they vote or not, if the majority of students are not voting, these underrepresented people have no voice. The results of the election reflect this. Since the elections yield results that have little effect on the majority of the population, these students feel that they do not need to vote. This is not the case.
Many students responded with invalid excuses to explain their lack of participation in voting this year. My least favorite, and one of the most frequent responses, was, “I have too much homework.” First of all, your homework could have waited an hour so that you could vote on your own future, and the future of your country. Second of all, there are a plethora of your peers who had the same amount of homework but were able to take the time out of their busy schedules to vote. Third, students shouldn’t have so much homework that they feel they don’t have the time to go out and vote. This brings me to my conclusion: Professors should be encouraging student participation in Election Day by cancelling their classes.
Voting is an extremely important activity to take part in, especially now. According to the Harvard Institute of Politics’ most recent national youth poll, “40 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds say they will ‘definitely vote’ in the 2018 midterm elections.” In addition to the sad fact that this is not even 50 percent of eligible voters in this age range, it is not guaranteed that all 40 percent of these people will even vote. This is largely due to complications or the fact that registering and voting is such a hassle. Registering to vote should be easy, and voting should be a piece of cake. Voting needs to be made more accessible if we want to see the change so desperately craved by today’s youth.
The voter turnout this year was a giant step in the right direction. If we keep at it, hopefully, the turnout percentage will increase steadily year after year. Students are finally starting to realize that if they want to see major change, protesting and fighting is not sufficient enough. Acting is the only way to see change happen. We have a group of angry students; now all we need is for them to bring that anger with them to the polls.
Kaitlyn Pierce is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.