There’s Still a Point

yep, those are my big feet in that voting booth.

As the presidential election looms closer and closer, there are ads everywhere urging us to pick the “right” candidate for whom to vote.  However, I think the more pressing issue than deciding whom to vote for is lurking beneath the surface: young people have begun to stop voting.

All across the country, politicians, business-owners, and everyday people are insisting that young people are becoming increasingly apathetic towards the idea of voting.   A poll published in Gallup recently said, “Young people are losing interest in voting.  Just 58 percent of voters 18 to 29 years old said they are “definitely likely to vote” this November, down from 78 percent in a poll taken in October ahead of the 2008 election, and 81 percent in 2004. “

This seriously alarms me in multiple ways: first, I have a hard time understanding why young people- or for that matter, any group of people- would voluntarily choose not to vote.  Voting is how we express our beliefs as citizens, and is more effective than protesting ninety-nine percent of the time.  If we don’t believe our representatives are serving our needs as a people, we are able to nominate someone else who will represent us better.  We’re able to select who we want in our government, pushing for our needs, caring for our safety, and bettering our lives.  If people don’t vote, they can’t complain about not being appropriately politically represented.

Second, I think that to not vote is a disgraceful waste of our abilities as citizens in a democratic society.  Our Founding Fathers gave us the right to vote and the right to express our political beliefs, however directly or indirectly we choose to do so.   Reading the papers of Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton in APGOV has shown me how much they believed in a republican society, and how much they desired that their citizens be able to vote and express their beliefs.

I’ll be eighteen this October, about a week before the presidential election.  I’ve been registered to vote since this March, and it’s all I’ve been talking about for the past six months.  I firmly believe that there’s still a point in voting, despite the apathy of some members of my generation.  No matter whom I end up voting for, I won’t be part of the youth demographic who remained silent during one of the most important elections of this century.  I’ll have chosen whom I want to represent me and serve my needs, and whom I genuinely believe will do a good job leading our country for the next four years.  For me, that’s all the motivation I need to get to the voting booth.

they want you to vote as much as i do!


  1. You have laid out all the good reasons for all groups to vote in this upcoming election. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see some study of the number of people who don’t vote but are in the forefront of the next protest about something. Lincoln said “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” I think people don’t vote because they think it is a form of protest. If we paid more attention in government class, we would always vote whenever we were given the opportunity. I wish I could take some of your wisdom and transfer it to my 8th grade history class!


  2. Good for you – what a great example you will be to your peers. We are all so fortunate to live in a country where we can publicly voice our opinions without fear. Too often we take that for granted. Congratulations on finding your voice – and making it heard!

    Karen Douse
    OSG Academic Dean


  3. Wow, I cannot believe that so much of America’s young population is declining their right to vote, while I know so many who protest issues. Is it the laziness that America’s youth is becoming accustomed to, and feeling of boredom voting, so they feel they need to protest to still get that feeling of doing something? I personally would never waste my vote by refusing to go to the polls. But then the question is raised, can the government offer enticements to get more of a poll turn out? I think it would be interesting to see the government hold back some optional programs from those people. If that’s constitutional, I don’t know, but I believe it would most likely help with voter turn out.

    Bo Goodrich


  4. Wow! I like the fact that you use very strong and powerful words to get your point across. It is really interesting how people are deciding not to vote, maybe if we knew why people were doing this we could get a better grasp on the problem. You are one of the handful of people I know who actually seem excited about voting so I was wondering what your opinion is on the voting age and whether the age should be increased or decreased?


  5. I, unfortunately, will not meet the cutoff for being 18 at this year’s election! 😦 I will be thinking of you as you make the trek to the voting booth and become part of this nation’s amazing history. Your statistics shocked me, frankly, because I did not realize how uninterested today’s young voters are about their government and country’s future. Recently, I blogged about the voting age being lowered to 17, what is your opinion on this issue? I’d love to hear from you and great blog!


  6. I, unfortunately, will not meet the cutoff for being 18 at this year’s election! I will be thinking of you as you make the trek to the voting booth and become part of this nation’s amazing history. Your statistics shocked me, frankly, because I did not realize how uninterested today’s young voters are about their government and country’s future. Recently, I blogged about the voting age being lowered to 17, what is your opinion on this issue? I’d love to hear from you and great blog!


  7. Thank you all for your kind feedback! I really appreciate all of the support and feedback I’ve gotten since writing this article.

    emi360 and Ellen, although I am disappointed that not many of my friends will be able to vote in this election, I believe that the voting age should remain at 18. Most people begin to formulate their political opinions at around age 16, so two years later, that person knows how and where they stand on most, if not all, political and social issues. I think 18 is the right maturity level and should definitely be the voting age.

    I also believe that if you’re going to vote, you MUST stay informed as well. The New York Times is probably the best source of information all around, but if you’re looking for good columns about politics or economics, I’d pick up a Time magazine and read Rana Foroohar and Joe Klein’s columns. They’re always great sources of information and they’re really well written.

    Thanks for all of your support!


  8. Hi there-
    Great post! I think you really hit the nail on the head with a lot of your points. I definitely agree that a lot of young people are wastig their right to vote. I think a lot of younger voters think that they’re just one person, and that there vote won’t count for anything. However, I agree with you in that they should use their right to vote to vote for the candidate of their choice. Glad to hear someone talk about this topic, I think it is an important topic that isn’t emphasized much lately.


  9. I appreciate your passion about this subject. I, too, never understand why people wouldn’t vote. I am currently still too young to vote, but once I am old enough I will be sure to vote. If people don’t vote I don’t see why they would then proceed to criticize the government. If you don’t do your part in trying to change the world, than you shouldn’t complain about what’s wrong in it. Keep up the good posting!


  10. I will definitely vote when I turn 18, but sometimes I do wonder what the point is. I live in Tennessee, which is a steady red state, so does my vote really matter? The Electoral College has made it so that presidential candidates’ focus are narrowed on the swing states. Presidential candidates do not campaign in Tennessee because the republicans believe they have already won it, while democrats think there is no point campaigning in a state that will end up voting republican. If the presidential election was decided by popular vote instead of by the Electoral College, then Presidential candidates would spend time campaigning everywhere. With the Electoral College in place, the republicans will carry Tennessee so why does my vote really matter?


  11. Whether or not the individual believes his vote matters doesn’t matter; that the majority of individuals do doesn’t. If someone doesn’t vote, it will not change the outcome of the election; however if multiple people follow that line of reasoning then it may.

    It’s a paradox: your vote doesn’t matter, but the sum of individuals who believe that it matters is what keeps the system alive.

    Weird, isn’t it?


  12. It scares me that people my age take voting so lightly. That is our job as a US citizen, its our only say so that we have in this country. Why would you not want to vote? I think your post is very educational and eye opening. I actually have heard that more people vote for american idol than they actually vote for the president. This is sad.


  13. I had no idea how much of a drop we have had in the number of people definitely planning to vote. Personally, I take voting as a way to express our opinions and beliefs, and the percentage of young voters that will now not vote would have a huge impact on the final decision. If you think about it, for the next 4 years we will have a representative that will play the biggest roles in the decision about the society that we live in. It is just like our high school experiences (as students). They will ALL be different with a different leader. The only idea that I could come up with for why all these young adults are not voting is because of the selection or their impact. Is it because they feel that there vote wouldn’t count for anything or because they really haven o preference on the candidate or feel neither is worthy? What are you opinions on why they might be making this decision? What do you think should be done to change that? Thank you so much for your ideas and opinions.


  14. hi everyone,

    once again, thanks so much for all of your positive feedback. sarayu01, i believe that young people are choosing not to vote for two main reasons: 1) they feel that their vote “won’t count for anything and doesn’t matter anyways” (see Wallen’s comment above for an idea of that!), and 2) young people don’t like either of the candidates and therefore abstain from voting.

    I think the entire Rock the Vote campaign has been very effective for getting the vote out, but we also need to emphasize voting on a more personal level- anything from registering people to vote on college campuses to sending out a reminder email to your school or workplace. Everything counts, and it all does matter.


  15. Hello,
    My name is L.J. and I’m in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading your post! I too am very passionate about expressing my opinion and getting my voice out there. This will be my first presidential election to vote in and I am ecstatic! I couldn’t find any grammatical errors, and your post is well organized and to the point. The picture you included was appropriate and entertaining as well. Good job including links, and I like your title. Keep up the good work and keep letting your voice be heard!
    -L.J. (Laura) Allen


  16. Hi!

    I think you made a lot of fantastic points in this post. I’ve been excited to vote for as long as I can remember, and it’s always been hard to understand why people, especially young people, who have more of a stake in the future of the country, would be so apathetic. What do you think can be done to get young voters interested in voting and the political process? Do you think their apathy is because of this specific generation or is it a result of the political system we have?

    – Sarah


  17. hi LJ and Sarah,

    you posed some interesting questions for me! i personally believe that apathy young people have towards voting is mostly because of the political system in our country. most people who i have convinced (or failed to convince) to vote stated that they don’t like either candidate who is running for president, or that their Republican vote doesn’t count in a state as liberal as New York. They believe that their vote “doesn’t matter at all.”

    I think it’s important to remind young voters that voting is both a right and a privilege, and is not a privilege granted to all the citizens of the world. Campaigns such as Rock the Vote have been effective, but I think it’s important to take a “deeper” approach. Instead of merely making voting look cool, we should also remind young voters that by voting, they’re helping our democracy flourish and continue. If people stop voting entirely, we won’t have a democracy at all.

    thank you for commenting!


  18. Your blog was very interesting to read and I completely agree with your opinion. It is disappointing to know that younger voters are starting to lost interest in who is representing our country. With the exception of a few, I will ask my classmates if they are republican or democrat, and most of them say they don’t really care. To me, this is very sad and needs to change. After all, the president basically decides how we live our lives. In conclusion, we need to express our beliefs by voting so he knows how the citizens of this country want to live.



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