People across the country are contemplating who to vote for as the 2016 presidential race heats up, and many students believe it is essential for the younger generation to participate in voting in order to see the change for which Americans hope.
Some students at California Baptist University see the opportunity to vote as a civic duty, in which people have been given the chance to affect society in a positive way.
Isaac Need, junior mechanical engineering major, said voting is crucial for all citizens and staying informed on candidates and societal issues to make intelligent decisions regarding voting is a responsibility for the younger generation.
“I think younger people don’t vote because we have seen enough different people cycle through office promising change or improvement––then completely failing to do anything we see as beneficial–that many have simply given up on the idea we can impact the system,” Need said.
However, 18-24-year-old voters have voted at lower rates than any other age groups from 1962 to 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which may be due to a number of reasons including weaker party identification and less familiarity of the impact the government on daily lives.
Andrew Mousaw, senior civil engineering major, said one reason students may avoid voting is because they tend to fall into the trap of pushing off politics, believing it does not directly impact them.
Although Mousaw admits he has not closely followed the presidential candidate debates, he said he still believes students must educate themselves and engage in the voting process.
“If everyone thinks votes don’t count then no one would vote,” Mousaw said. “It’s important we know we did our absolute best at choosing the most viable candidate, rather than becoming like those who complain and bicker over the victor of the election they neglected to participate in.”
Others hope the younger generation can take the proper action in helping grow the percentage of voter turnouts to see a change over the previous percentage of participants.
Dr. Chris McHorney, professor of political science and chair for the Department of History and Government, said voting is a basic and critical responsibility for each citizen who possesses the power to influence the composition of the government. Lack of voting can influence the way government responds to various issues surrounding millennials.
“The impact of the low voter turnout rate of millennials is the tendency of government to ignore or marginalize issues, such as financial aid, that are important to them,” McHorney said. “On the other hand, baby boomers have a much higher voter turnout rate. Thus, the government is much more likely to pay attention to issues, such as Social Security, that are important to them.”
Caitlin Cicchetti, junior sociology major, said she plans to vote in the upcoming election but understands the conflict of students not wanting to vote when they do not find many candidates are not appealing.
However, she said she believes if people are upset with certain aspects of society, they should take action, and voting is one way their voices can be considered.
“I want my voice to count for something,” Cicchetti said. “Even if it’s just the sound of my voice. If it doesn’t change anything, I’m still putting out what my beliefs are. If I have to choose a candidate that is not my favorite, so be it, but I’m still going to try to get my voice heard as much as I can.”