Youth voters finally make voices heard
The youth vote used to be one of those things everyone talked about but eventually dismissed as not significant in elections.
The goal of many candidates in past elections was to “get out the youth vote.” The result was tepid at best. The rule became young people just aren't interested in voting.
Well, that apparently isn't true for the latest generation of young people (those 18-29). They ARE voting.
In fact, they have been credited with giving President Obama the edge he needed to win both of his elections in 2008 and this year. Those analyzing the election results say Mitt Romney would have won had he received the share of the youth votes the president garnered.
Not only that, but the share of the electorate represented by younger adults this year actually grew over the previous presidential election in 2008 — from 18 percent that year to 19 percent this year, according to a report on politico.com. President Obama captured two-thirds of that vote.
About half of eligible voters in the 18-29 group (the so-called “millennials”) voted, a turnout trend that has been evident in the past three presidential election cycles. Compare that to the previous Generation X which typically had a turnout of less than 40 percent at that age.
Heather Smith, president of the Rock The Vote youth turnout campaign this year, said the higher youth voting totals are the “new normal.”
That's exciting. We have long wondered why younger people didn't see voting as critical to their futures. The issues affecting this nation impact young people as much, if not more, than any other voting group. It appears that reality is finally being accepted by young voters.
Smith noted it is an important change because it means “this voting bloc can no longer be an afterthought to any party or campaign.” She is right.
We hope they realize that their voices need to be heard not only in presidential years but in local elections and in off-year elections for Congress.