Young Voters Check Out
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Although young adults are dealing with rising student debts and an 8.3 percent unemployment rate, many are opting not to vote this year.
A recent poll conducted by Gallup, a leading research organization, showed that the number of young voters ages 18 to 29 who will definitely vote this November is 56 percent. That is a 10 percent decline from the 66 percent of voters under the age of 30 who turned out in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center.
“I honestly don’t think I will vote this year,” said Paulina Ponce, sophomore education major. “I feel like everybody has some sort of corruption, like no one is out for the good of the country. I know that’s pessimistic, but I just don’t see any change coming out of this. I think most people who are deciding not to vote (are) just not hopeful about changes.”
While some students are deciding to not to vote this year because they don’t agree with either of the political candidates, there are others who simply aren’t interested.
“I don’t know, I just don’t care and I don’t think I’m registered yet,” said Jorge Campos, freshman criminal justice major. “It’s not that I think my vote doesn’t count but I just think it’s not real important to me. It’s the least of my worries. I think that’s how most young people feel, like I never hear about it.”
Political science professor Irasema Coronado believes the reason young people haven’t committed to voting this year has to do with indecisiveness.
“I think some young people are still trying to figure out if they are better off now than they were four years ago. A lot of people are asking that question,” she said.
However, not all students are planning to be absent in Election Day Nov. 6. Sylvia Contreras, junior pre-speech major does plan on voting because she feels it is her way of being heard.
“I believe that if you aren’t happy with something you have to change it. I want change, I’m not happy with the way things are right now so I’ll make my vote since that’s the only way I can make a change,” she said.
Some students believe that some of the younger population is opting out of voting because they are uninformed.
“I don’t really think young people are interested in politics,” said Karen Vegas, freshman graphic design major. “They’re not really following the election. They just don’t seem very informed.”
According to a poll conducted on Sept. 3 by Generation Opportunity, an organization geared toward mobilizing young adults, 64 percent of young people ages 18-29 believe that the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.
Coronado said she believes both candidates are depending heavily on the youth vote, and said it is important that young people vote.
“It’s critical that people participate in the democratic process,” she said. “If we don’t, we will have the few who run everything and that is not a good thing.”
Contreras said she also feels younger people have an obligation to vote.
“I think people should go out and vote, those who don’t are always the first to complain, so they should go and make a change,” she said.
Andres Rodriguez contributed to this story.
Jasmine Aguilera and Andres Rodriguez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.