The Youth Vote: What Will Youth Voters Do in November?

There was an article in the Denver Post this week called “Young Voices, New Votes.”

This is a guest commentary written by a young person who has been working as a canvasser registering voters for the presidential campaign.
The article includes a criticism of the efforts by some politicians to restrict voter registrations.

My husband’s family was visiting for the past several weeks from Argentina. We had a conversation about these new restrictions on voter registration and my husband’s mother asked the perfect question, in my opinion.

She said, “For a country that holds democracy as its ideal, why would anyone want to restrict who can vote?” She was not taking sides in the ideological debate and her question was innocently inquiring.

This does seem like the correct question to me. Regardless of your political persuasion, shouldn’t every citizen have the right to vote?

This article also brings up an interesting issue about the youth vote in the upcoming election. The turnout among young voters in the last election was practically the determining factor in the outcome of the election. I have been wondering what the youth vote will do in November.

This article ties these two issues together well, pointing out the impact of voter restrictions on youth.

What do you think? Do you see a relationship between the voter restriction laws proliferating around the country and the youth vote? Do you think the youth vote will turn out in November or stay home? What do you think about laws that make it harder for people to vote? Do you have any ideas to encourage more turn-out in elections?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.


Filed under Colorado, Culture, Policy, Politcs, Social Media, Stereotypes, Technology, Youth Leadership

53 responses to “The Youth Vote: What Will Youth Voters Do in November?

  1. Dear News,
    I don’t watch tv.
    You are my source for world awareness.
    Thank you.
    Now that I’m following you … I may actually be able to talk intelligently about a few things!
    Thank you! !*:)

  2. I’m not familiar with US voting but I would think that the leaders of tomorrow should have a voice!

    • Absolutely. The issue is that some people are trying to put hurdles up, instead of taking them down, for people to register to vote. Our turnout in elections is lower than 50% almost every time. It is a real issue, but some politicians are trying to place restrictions which seems like we are headed in the wrong direction. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I’m guessing it will be lower than the last election.

  4. My husband is 17 years younger than myself and he has said that he’s not sure if he’s going to vote because it probably won’t matter as we live in the heavily Republican state of Texas. Even if he and I vote for Obama our electoral votes will override our voice to elect Romney….very discouraging. I believe in the right to vote and I will still vote but feel the same way my husband does. There is a sense of futility about the whole process.

    • Wow. That is discouraging. One thing you could do is to make phone calls to swing states for whichever candidate you support. The electoral college issue does sometimes make it feel like your vote doesn’t count…but it still does because it makes a statement! I really hope you and your husband will both vote!!!

      • We will, or at least I know I will vote. I believe that ultimately, as in 2008, the people will win out if they so choose. It’s such a confusing time for all people. I think too many want to blame the President for everything that’s wrong or still isn’t right and that’s exactly what those who don’t want him re-elected to think. The corporate Republicans and people like Romney are the ones who have played a significant role in getting us into this mess but we all are responsible. We must make more informed choices about everything we do and that will change the world.

    • I hope you and your husband both vote! I live in Texas too and will vote for Obama again even though I do not agree with him on everything.

  5. julieanne

    my guess is it will be lower than 2008…unless the republicans continue to wage war on gays/women/contraception/abortion and enough young people get angry. which, given the current climate, might just happen. the only upside i can see of the current culture war is getting young people mad enough to participate…unintended consequences:)

    • You are good at finding silver linings, aren’t you? I think you may be right about that. Thanks so much for the comment!

    • I agree with julieanne. I think Obama lost a lot of the youth support as a result of his handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And he seem to grow weaker by the day on environmental issues as well. Kids want immediate gratification — it’s what they are used to. He didn’t solve the problems that concerned him. But if they get mad enough at the Republicans they might be a force. I doubt that many would vote Republican. Certainly not enough to be a major factor in the outcome.

      • It will be interesting to see. I guess that is why there are so many speeches on college campuses lately!

        • Every campus has a Republican camp. But it’s usually small and voiceless. But those kids will vote. Whether the more relaxed, liberal students will bother to vote for a man they think let them down is another question. (Note the corollary there” Republicans are uptight.)

  6. As a non-American, I can only speak from my perspective, although I agree you seem to be headed in the opposite direction to enlightenment. The Canadian Government actually gives the right to vote to inmates serving terms of two years or less. The only ones excluded are inmates serving sentence longer than two years, certain government officials and minors under the age of 18. Campaigns during election times encourage our youth to become involved, informed and go out to vote, if they are of the age to do so. I’m not saying our turnout at elections has always been overwhelming. Since Confederation in 1867, our turnout for Federal elections has ranged from roughly 44% to 79% of the population. That’s isn’t the greatest statistic and doesn’t look kindly on voter participation. It is what it is.

    • 79% would be a dream turnout here! One of the things I wish we had is same-day registration. Some states have it and it seems to work well. Thanks for the comment!

      • Our registration is based on census data. Several weeks before voting day we get a notice with our polling station information as well as a reminder when voting day will be. Pre-voting can occur if a person will be out-of-town on election day. If we do not get that slip of paper, we can call and register with the voting committee so that there are no snags when they do go out to vote.

  7. Once again, you got me thinking, and I wrote a blog post in response:

    The brief summary is that, while I agree with you in general, I don’t think the goal of elections is to have everyone vote fairly (this will never happen perfectly), I think it’s to get as close as we can to determining the will of the people. The best voter ID laws thus depend on how much risk there is of fraud on the one hand and disenfranchisement on the other. In our current system, this would be relatively loose ID laws.

    • Awesome. Looking forward to reading your post. Thanks for sharing. I am less concerned about fraud since the statistics show the unbelievably small percentages of fraud – I would just lik laws that encourage more people to vote!

  8. Everyone should be able to vote in the US. I’ve heard some people suggest that we make voting a requirement, like in Australia, but I’m not entirely comfortable with that idea. I think there’s an obvious agenda among those who are supporting the voter ID laws. For example, the recently passed voter ID law in Texas considers a gun licence an acceptable ID, but not a student ID.

    As for youth voter turnout, I’m certain it’ll be lower than it was in 2008. There just isn’t the same sort of enthusiasm this year. I’m interested to see what the youth turnout for libertarian candidates like Gary Johnson will be, due to his stance on marijuana legalization and other social issues.

    • I agree – I am not sure madatory voting is the answer. Argentina has that and it has turned into a tool to manipulate the masses. But it should be easy and effortless to be registered to vote in my opinion. That way, we can try to et to what Alan is talking about where we are able to guage the will of the people. Of course, saymber also has a great point about the electoral college and the fact that that complicates determining the will of the people as well, but that is a subject for a whole other post, I imagine. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  9. As a young 18 year old who will be voting for the first time in my life during this upcoming election, this new territory I am discovering with my peers is BORING, but not in the ways you may think. Our generation is often called the most inactive activists yet. We sit at home on our laptops constantly “liking” “blogging” and “tweeting” about things we want to change yet we rarely get off our obese asses and do something about it. Now I don’t speak for all 18-24 year olds, obviously, but a majority of us are either apathetic or ignorant. In my opinion these emotions are not our own fault but the fault of our politicians. I can honestly say before last week I knew NOTHING about any candidates or their stances on the “big topics.” I didn’t even know what the “big topics” were (the economy, immigration, abortion, gay rights, ect). You might be thinking it is because we are all spoiled brats and we expect someone else to do everything for us, like run the government and make the right choices, but it is because during the campaigning season all we see are ads bashing politicians, articles about who’s taxes weren’t filed right, reports about who has more money and who’s camp is cheating. My peers and I just graduated from high school so we really could care less about all the petty drama but that is all we are fed in the news. We have to really dig deep if we want to understand the outcome of electing a certain official and we just don’t see the point because if the actual officials don’t care enough to show us how they are going to change and improve our lives then why should we? The only reason I dug deep is because I was in Normandy with a group of 8 21 year old native french kids and they asked me who I am going to vote for and why. When I responded with I really don’t care who wins and I have no knowledge on the election as a whole their jaws dropped. They knew more about Romney and Obama then I did and they don’t even get a say in the election! I was so embarrassed to be the face of american youth for these french kids. I really let us down. So the next day I did my research, a lot of it. The funny part is I have been registered to vote since I was 17. I was at the dmv getting a replacement drivers license and the lanky kid behind the counter said well you are close enough to 18 so I can just register you now if you want and I responded with a shrug of the shoulders and sure why not. I do think there will be a decent turn out of youth just because college campuses make it a huge deal to vote with a lot of incentives and rally’s and so on. Sorry for the long comment. This post was amazing though, I do think with the right fire lit under your ass we would definitely raise our voices, so thank you for helping light that fire! 🙂

    • Wow. First, I have to say that I adore long, thoughtful comments so thank you. I am sincerely blown away by your response and think you need to tell this story to every person you meet, especially your peers. So inspiring. And when you run for office one day, let me know how i can help! 🙂 Travel can do wonderful things, can’t it? Thank you for sharing your story. It is an important story to retell.

  10. I hope they show up but maybe just maybe they’ll forget about it and wake up one day wondering when it all went so wrong … like so many of us do

  11. I was so blown away by the comments, I literally spaced on my own thoughts!! Great job!

    • I know…I have some awesome readers and I am so grateful that they are willing to share their unique personal perspectives. It is amazing. Sometimes I lose track of my thoughts in the midst of all the great conversation too! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  12. I think everyone has a responsibility to vote and comply with registrations rules. Yet in Texas there is a movement to make it more difficult to vote – another debate! Turnout is low already. What can I do? Simple things – vote as an example and encourage others to vote. I do hope young people get out in vote again. I will encourage my 20 year old grandson to vote for his first presidential election. If I don’t vote I can’t complain!

  13. It’s also a big problem for senior citizens that don’t drive and need the photo ID. It’s not easy for seniors to get to a DMV…since they don’t drive in the first place. The managers where my mom lives had made arrangements for someone to come in and discuss the issue with the residents along with a scheduled bus trip to the DMV for a photo shoot. Many of these people are war veterans…really? someone thinks its ok to say “no, you vote without a photo id” Come on…

  14. I just celebrated my 30th year voting, with perfect attendance I might ass. You better believe the YOUTH in this house will be casting her vote in November!

  15. there are so many countries fighting for emancipation at this time, I really hope the young people of Argentina become another one to be successful in that goal.

  16. The biggest hope for the youth vote maybe all of those that were engaged last time around but were too young and have been waiting for their moment. The more rules there are, the more confused everyone will be about what hoops they must jump through. And the more likely they will just stay home.

    • Absolutely. Good point about the young people who wanted to vote before but didn’t get to. I hadn’t thought of that! Thanks for the comment – thoughtful as always! 🙂

    • Love the Toro y Moi, Alejandro Escovedo, Foals, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and JJ tunes but I voted for The Weepies. Sunny Days will be stuck in my head for ..days.The Black Crowes still sound as great as ever, and you should see them live at least once in your life. Just don’t try and pass a urine test the next day!

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