The Young Who Do Not Vote

Letters to the Editor: Yes, young people care. Here’s how to make them vote too.



First of all, I’d like to thank our new and improved readers. Yes, young people care. This is true of all ages, but especially when it comes to voting.

When we last discussed young people in May of 2009, the numbers were bad. In 2008, their turnout was only 25% and it fell another one point each year. Yes, they turn out in smaller numbers than ever. For example, in the 2008 presidential primaries, only 40% of 18-25 year olds voted compared to 58% of the 36-50 year olds. And we saw this trend continue through most of the primaries as well as the general election.

It is not the young who don’t participate; it is the young who do not vote. This has become a national problem, and I have written about it before. It is also a growing problem in my own state of Pennsylvania and across the country.

The main reason is that in many ways young people have no representation and little interest in politics. They have been taught to think of themselves as being “too young” to vote. They are rarely asked about the issues that matter to them (like health care) and do not see the negative ramifications of the choices made by those in power.

They are more likely to be apathetic, to get their news on TV and on the internet. It is a combination of factors that have kept young people out of the polls. We need to do something about this.

First, we need to have public conversations about the problem with many kinds of young professionals. When they hear about the turnout of 18-25 year olds in 2008, it has always been important to have a public conversation. The public conversation needs to include young people and have their voices included.

Secondly, we need to teach young people how to vote. When we last discussed young people’s ability to vote, we said that they need to get out there and get involved. The way to do that is to make people get out there and vote. If you’ve got the time and the energy, I’d love to have you help me find places on the streets of

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