Voting rates of millennials don’t reflect their numbers


Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson

Millennials are nearly even with Baby Boomers when it comes to the ability to influence an election, but they lag behind their elders because they don’t vote.

Less than half of eligible millennials voted in the November presidential election.

The turnout can be attributed to the views that vary among generations on what responsibility voting should be: an obligation to democracy for most older people and a personal choice for most millennials.

Although voter turnout can fluctuate based on factors such as a person’s ethnic and gender backgrounds, as well as income and education, millennials aren’t forecast to be a force at the polls. So, while young voters who are white often have a higher turnout than young voters of color, neither exceeds voting ratings among Boomers.

The lack of voter participation, particularly in the 2016 fall election, frustrates some millennials.

“I think our generation feels as if their vote is irrelevant,” said Ben Smith, a student at Texas Christian University who voted in November. “You have the right to stand up for what you believe in and if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results of the election.”

Passive young people may be the main upset for their more proactive peers.

Similarly, student Paris Jones said, “It’s sad there’s a low turnout. Voters’ voices should be heard. Younger millennials don’t really have the opportunity to run for positions of power and voting is the chance to exercise that.”