According to a recent poll commissioned by Power California, 72% of California youth aged 18 to 24 say they “definitely will” vote in November but only 16% of that same age group voted in the June primaries. This causes many to wonder what is causing this disconnect with youth and voting.
Many young people have their own opinions on voting, and it’s not that they aren’t politically aware, it’s just that many have lost faith in the system or simply don’t know what steps to take to be registered to vote.
“If Hillary and Trump were running again, no I wouldn’t vote, politics are just messed up on both sides,” says 16-year-old William Oosterman of Sacramento.
Youth voter turnout is also an issue that needs to be confronted. In the Power California Polls, around 70% of the youth who voted in the June primary said they were contacted by email or text reminding them to vote. But just reminding young people to vote isn’t always enough.
Young voters need to connect to the candidates and issues they are voting for. Increasingly, more and more youth are supporting groups like Black Lives Matter and are the majority of attendees at protests and boycotts. When a candidate speaks out about an issue that matters to them, an increased number of younger voters show up to the polls.
“Yes I would vote!” says Mason Johnson, a young potential voter in California. “People’s opinions can potentially change the future of the country.”
It is the future of the country that young people are worried about and have set out to change. Some, like Johnson, have not lost hope and continue to fight for a country they can be proud of. Others no longer believe voting has a purpose. Voter education and contact, such as reminders, are just some steps that need to be taken to increase voter turnout among youth.