Why Young Adults Are Not Voting
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 19:10
The voting registration deadline for United States citizens has now passed. The next step is to wait for Nov 6, when citizens participate in their civic duty and vote. Unfortunately, not everyone is taking part in this act.
"The demographic of young people (18-24 years old) have the lowest participation rate," said Rachel Cobb, a government professor at Suffolk University.
Why is it that not all people who are old enough to vote this year have registered? Not only is the youngest demographic the least likely to register, but there are also people who registered and still do not plan on voting.
"I feel like I have misled information about each candidate. Plus, my vote doesn’t really count anyway," said Joanna Lopes, a freshman at Suffolk University who registered this year as an independent.
"I don’t like either of the candidates," said Joe Sinatra, junior, who also registered as an independent. "I don’t feel like either of them will do well. I mean, I feel Obama would do more, but still, not good enough for me."
Cobb says there are barriers that prevent people from participating, such as registration deadlines. Also, it takes a lot of time and energy to figure out when and where to register, especially with young people who already have a lot going on.
An example of this is the issue of new students and absentee ballots.
"I could take the absentee ballot for Connecticut but I feel like I’m cheating the system because I don’t live there," said Kimberlie, a Connecticut native who now goes to school in Boston. "I live here. I want to vote here."
Kimberlie cannot use her bills or bank statements in order to get an absentee ballot because they are addressed to her home in Connecticut. She receives direct deposit from her job and if she were to ask for a bank statement or a bill, she would not be able to get one until November.
Professor Cobb explains that young people are more likely to vote when they participate in politics and government.
"When people participate they learn critical skills, advocacy, skills of design, and navigation, and there has been a decline in existence in civic participants," said Cobb.
"Politicians are limiting people from voting," said Professor Brian Conley, a Government professor at Suffolk University. "It’s easier for parties to control the vote if they know who you are."
Professor Conley believes the issue isn't that people are not engaged, it's that they don't want to participate in anything political because they feel the government is unresponsive.
"When it came to Katrina, everyone wanted to help because it was direct," Conley illustrated. "Whereas, if you are going for a political campaign, it’s an ineffective vehicle for social change. But, you cannot make social change, or at least it’s much harder to do so through volunteer work."
For those not voting this year, it can be frustrating to know that what these students are saying is on other people’s minds as well.