The Importance of Local Voting
By the 2020 election millennials will account for 40 percent of the voting population. The millennial generation is the future of the nation, but we won’t make an impact on our communities if we are not involved in local voting. It doesn’t matter which way you vote, as long as you make your voice heard on a larger scale.
Why Is There A Decline In Local Voting?
According to Huffington Post, in 2012 over 50 percent of Millennials voted in the presidential election, which was the highest for any age group. Yet, they failed to vote in such high numbers for local elections. One reason why we aren’t showing up may be because local politicians are not making enough of an effort to connect with us on their issues. S.E. Cupp and Aaron Schock of CNN Crossfire, tell us that how the candidate/representative conducts them-selves and their image is very influential to younger voters. For instance Schock says, “A much more optimistic view of the world is key. So not only the substance, but also the tone I think is important. And the messenger is important.”
For a variety of reasons, college students in particular are also more reluctant to participate in local voting and politics. Mainly because they don’t have much free time. In addition to attending classes, many students also work part-time jobs on average for about 20 hours a week. So there is little time left to devote to political issues. With the rise of technology and social media, USA Today College states that millennials are expected to eventually be more politically engaged than previous generations, but need to be less polarized by certain political parties.
What are the Political Issues that Concern Millennials?
This philosophy of non-partisanship for politics is already starting. According to a recent survey by the Associated Press, half of all millennial voters are registered as independents. In turn, making their vote about issues and less about party allegiances. Many millennials put value on particular issues- ranging from social tolerance to personal freedom and economics.
As of August 2014, the National debt had reached $17.6 trillion and the economy is not improving. With young people having the highest unemployment rate in the country since the Great Depression, job security and finances are more important than ever and have also made millennials more mindful of spending habits, increasing the number renters rather than homeowners.
In addition to an interest in the economy, social issues and social change are also quite pertinent. We are a new socially liberal, fiscally conservative generation. In this regard, we are interested in passing bills for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, but would rather pay less for taxes and cut federal spending.
How You Get More Involved In Local Politics
There are plenty of ways to get involved with local voting and local politics. Here are few tips:
1. Stay informed, discuss current events and issues and investigate different sides to a story.
2. Learn about local representatives and evaluate their position on issues that are most relevant to you.
3. Join community councils-a system of representatives at your local, neighborhood level.
4. Make improvements in your own community. Log on to a website like Kickstarter and fund a project that is needed in your city. Or volunteer at local charities like soup kitchens or Habitat for Humanity
5. Contact your representatives: your mayor, councilpersons, or county officials. Let them know what issues you care about and put pressure on them to act.
6. Speak out: blog, use social media, or publicly protest about your political views.
7. Stay positive and active: don’t give up because you don’t get your way.
By 2015, millennials will represent one-third of the electorate. Policy change starts with state legislation. Get more involved in local voting. We are known as the most educated generation in history. And not just because of our pursuit for higher education, but for our ample access to information. It’s true that one vote won’t make a difference, but the vote of 80 million millennials in the United States could definitely change the country.
For more information on how to get involved in local politics go to Turning Point USA.Net.
Andrew is a graduate of McDaniel College (’13). He is also an aspiring writer and stand-up comedian. He believes that if you are passionate about something, you should go for it! Life is too short for question marks, live life to the fullest while exploring your dreams and see what happens! Andrew presently lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.