Youth Vote 2012: Millennials Could Have Lowest Turnout Since 1972


It’s less than a week until the election and the numbers are not looking so great for the millenial generation. Harvard Institute of Politics recently released a poll that states this election might be one of the lowest turnouts for people ages 18-29 since 1972.

That’s a pretty sad thing, because in 2008 we had one of the highest voter turnouts in recent elections. So what does this mean for the upcoming election of 2012?

It means that millennials feel disengaged. President Obama's election campaign of 2008 promised hope and change. Unfortunately, four years later, much has remained unchanged. The unemployment rate for people 18-29 is at 9.3%, and students are accumulating massive amounts of debt. It has been hard to find a job for recent college graduates and is even harder for youth to find work who don’t go to college. I graduated from a Big 10 university and it took me two years to find stable employment and even at that, it is only for one year (I am an AmeriCorp member).

When nothing has really changed for our generation and doesn’t seem to be changing fast enough, why would we want to vote? A lot of people believe that their vote won’t make a difference, so what’s the point in voting.

But, that is not the right mindset.People should vote because on local and state levels, those votes count. A lot of the decisions being made about things that directly effect people are on a local level, with specific issues pertaining their state.

When asking my friends back in June, a lot of them seemed disengaged from the election. I believed that it was because it was so far away from the election, but just seeing reactions from them now, it still holds true. Students at colleges have shown more interest in the elections, which is to be expected, but outside of college, youth are apathetic to voting.

It is interesting to note that when referring to millennials who vote, the public tends to think of college educated. Zoe Carpenter, of the Nation, raises this interesting point. She states that undereducated youth are registered to vote, as well. Regardless of one’s educational or socioeconomic status, millennials are not going to show up in huge numbers.

As many of PolicyMicers are super engaged, we only represent a small number of the total millennial generation. I urge you to bug your friends to vote whether they are college educated or not. Try and appeal to their motivations to vote and explain to them why it’s important. Let’s try and not make it the lowest turnout since 1972.