Millennial votes are essential to the electorate

Published by adviser, Author: Dylan Vamosi - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 4, 2016
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The recent Iowa caucus made me realize how important millennials have become to the electorate. The tight Democratic race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, in particular, signified a galvanized, competitive, but torn party. Though Sanders ultimately lost, voters between the ages of 18 and 29 favored Sanders over Clinton by 70%. This is important because it shows a newly-excited voting bloc. Historically, however, this group is not particularly active with voting. Per a 2014 U.S. Census Bureau survey, only 23% of the 18-to-34 age block considered themselves to be “voters.” One problem is that our current voting registration process is cumbersome in many states — discouraging possible voters who fall into the 18-29 age bloc. The application process normally entails a paper application that must be sent in the mail. Luckily, Pennsylvania has now made online registration possible. Simply google “voter registration online in Pennsylvania,” complete the simple form, and the allow yourself to be heard. Even if a person intends to abstain from voting during a particular election, it is important for him or her to be registered. What is there to lose? Far too often do I notice peers of mine who only become encouraged to vote after the registration deadline has occurred; many people do not feel the pressure or urgency associated with an election until it is too late. There is plenty of time to register now, and the process has only become easier. Register to vote not because of how you are feeling currently, but how you may feel in the future. In other words, the opportunity cost to register is miniscule, but the opportunity cost to not register could be huge. One argument contends that those who do not monitor politics should not concern themselves with voting. This has been used before as a talking point by pundits like John Stossel. The argument implies that ignorant voters hurt the political process because they do not understand complex political issues or topics. College students, unsurprisingly, are often lumped into this category. Ironically, however, politics dominate the lives of many college students — and the influence is obvious on the individual basis: politicians decide the existence of public educational institutions, requirements for licensing, eligibility for loans and grants, and other forms of schooling and training. There is good reason for college students to be more involved politically. Therefore, the first logical step to becoming involved is by registering to vote. I do not yet understand why more states have not taken the initiative to automatically registered citizens to vote as soon as they turn 18. Doing so would save paper, time, and frustration for state officials and voters. In addition, voters could opt out of voting if they do not feel particularly attached to an election. Automatic registration would ensure that prospective voters are not barred from civic engagement. Alas, we must accommodate if we are to paint a more accurate picture of public opinion. Therefore, consider the progress Pennsylvania has made by registering to vote online. What is there to lose?

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