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Wed, Aug 27, 2014

LOGUE: More young people need to vote in midterm elections

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Apparently, the lessons learned by young people who voted in the 2008 presidential election have not been picked up by their younger brothers and sisters.

In 2004, Barack Obama claimed the presidency with 70 percent of first-time voters saying they had cast their ballots for him, according to The New York Times.

The Pew Research Center found that 66 percent of voters aged 30 and younger voted for Obama.

This bucked years of trends in which young people largely stayed home on Election Day.

Traditionally, the Baby Boomers and the AARP generation have made up the bulk of Americans exercising their democratic right to vote for the candidates of their choice.

The elderly, despite their physical infirmities or lack of transportation, somehow find ways to get to the voting booths while millions of mostly able-bodied young adults turn their attentions elsewhere.

Obama’s 2008 campaign resonated with young people in a way that previous campaigns did not.

Slate of slate of old white men versus other old white men just stirred up more feeling that the same old B.S. was being peddled.

However, not everyone who aspires to public office is as dynamically appealing as Obama. Still, the work of government goes on and not just at the federal level.

A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics finds that only 23 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 will cast ballots in this year’s midterm elections.

Of course, midterm elections generally have a much smaller percentage of the electorate going to the polls anyway.
Somehow the office of county court clerk doesn’t carry the glamour of the office of president of the United States.

In a society in which the cult of celebrity factor is as large as ever, that doesn’t bode well for local elections.

If young people are to have any clout in electoral politics, they have to continue voting in large numbers regardless of how mundane they consider the candidates or issues to be.

To dissect the Harvard poll further, those who self-identify as young conservatives are more likely to vote in the midterms than those who self-identify as young liberals.

Young whites are more likely to vote than young African-Americans or Hispanics. Young men are more likely to vote than young women.

Those who voted for Mitt Romney for president in 2012 are more likely to vote in the midterms than those who voted for Obama in 2012.

John Della Volpe, director of polling for the Harvard Institute of Politics, said in a statement that this year’s midterms represent the “lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000.”

If the interest young people showed in the democratic process in 2008 is to become more than just a statistical quirk to be studied by scholars as part of history, they will have to mobilize in the midterms and prove Harvard wrong.

Agreeing with Jon Stewart’s biting satire isn’t enough. Those who sway societal opinions have massive influence, but they can cast no more than one vote per person.

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elections, gina logue, midterm, vote, young people
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Members Opinions:
May 05, 2014 at 7:46am
In 2008 the Democrats needed a "gimmick" candidate. They ended up having to choose between a well qualified white female and a male of mixed race who lacked the experience and moxie to be a good president. They went with the one who could be more easily controlled by the party and Hillary was too much her own person to play (puppet). The rest is history. Minorities went with Obama because he was part black. Young voters who are, at that "age", vulnerable, idealistic and anti-anything political lemmings wanted do the most (anti) thing and went with the "gimmick".
May 06, 2014 at 10:36pm
I strongly disagree with the previous posters "gimmick" theory. I as a "twenty-something", whose first time voting was explicitly for the 2012 reelection of President Obama, was more than ecstatic to also notice the majority of my peers also rushing out to make their voices heard at the polls and it was most definitely not in relation to this presidential "gimmick." I personally feel that as an American citizen it is not only my privilege to vote, but also my civic responsibility to make sure that I do all in my power to ensure that I have a say in all of the fiscal, civic, moral and ethical decisions we make as a country. It's true that in recent years the polls have experienced a major decrease in young voter presence, but it's completely understandable to acknowledge the fact that the lack of information we as America's youth lack affects our voter attendance completely. I don't want to use that as an excuse for our absence and I by no means intend to speak for all people my age, but we need to start making a more conscious effort to gather our own information and stay on top of all issues that could either affect us now or in our near future. There are tons of issues that are getting voted on that we definitely potentially experience firsthand. These issues may seem small now and we may brush them off as things that may not affect us in the slightest by the time they go into effect, such as school budget cuts, or the relocation of scholarship funds, but these issues could directly affect our younger sibling, friends, and other family members and we should care about things like that because its not just our responsibility to vote for things that will make the most sense for us personally, but for others too.
May 09, 2014 at 7:37am
rgj2h Thank you for supporting my opinion with this quote " the fact that the lack of information we as America's youth lack affects our voter attendance completely." So if "America's youth" lack information, what do (they)use as a basis for choosing a candidate? I don't understand what information is there that is being kept from America's youth? The difference between voter turnout amoung young voters in 2012 vs 2008 supports my opinion that in 2008 (they) were political lemmings and ,as you point out, underinformed.
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