Why College Students Should Vote: Youth Voters Matter
Not sure if going to the polls is worth the effort? Here are a few very good reasons why college students – and other young people who are members of Generation Y – need to get themselves to the ballot box as often as possible.
Young Voters Need to be Taken Seriously by Politicians
Ever notice that during an election, old people get lots of attention? Politicians spend lots of time making promises about Social Security, Medicare, and other issues that affect the elderly. Logically, this doesn’t make sense. After all, young people are going to be around longer, right? Wouldn’t it be worth the while of politicians to earn a young following?
Here’s the thing: politicians pay attention to the elderly because they vote. Statistically, elderly people are far more likely to take the time to vote than younger people. In 2008, about 51% of Americans under 30 voted in the presidential election, while about 70% of Americans over 65 voted.  Therefore, politicians tend to pay more attention to older people.
The only way for this to change is for college students to vote. The more that politicians see that young people can really make a difference, the more they will pay attention to student needs – like student loan legislation, tuition hikes, entry level jobs, education cuts, and health care issues that affect young people.
Young Voters Need to Prove the Older Voters Wrong
Young people have a reputation for being apathetic, and this is especially true for Generation Y – the group of young people born roughly between 1977 and 1997. The stereotype about Generation Y is that unlike their parents, who participated in the social change movements in the 1960s and 1970s, Generation Y doesn’t care about the outside world.
Many professors buy into this stereotype. They talk nostalgically about the Baby Boomer students, who protested Vietnam and were heavily involved in campus politics. Instead, these professors argue, young people are too busy with Facebook, video games, partying, and other distractions.
Want to prove the haters wrong? College campuses are a great place to learn more about social and political issues, and to get involved in political activism. For students who don’t want to get involved, there’s a even simpler way to prove them wrong: vote.
Young Voters Have a Future
Older voters have an investment in creating a better world for their children and grandchildren. But should this be left up to the older voters?
Younger voters need to vote with their futures in mind. Decisions that are being made today about the environment, health care, jobs, education, deficit spending, infrastructure, military conflicts, civil rights, and foreign relations will impact young people more than anyone. These decisions are too important to be made be made by people who won’t be around decades from now.
Young voters matter! The only way to show politicians that college student issues are worth their time – and the only way to show naysayers that Generation Y defies their stereotypes – is to vote. Take the time to learn about the issues and candidates, and cast a ballot.