I don't necessarily consider myself a responsible person. During the first week of classes alone, I managed to lose my ID, my water bottle, and my house key on back-to-back-to-back days, and that was all before I nearly set the house itself on fire by accidentally leaving a plastic dish in the oven. All of this makes it especially daunting that I will, come November, be trusted with filling out a ballot to help determine the next president of the United States. Of course, were I to use this irresponsibility with regard to my personal belongings (seriously, if anyone has seen a blue water bottle with the name Blaine on it, I would love to get it back) as an excuse not to vote, I would be among the majority of college students.
According to statistics compiled by CNBC, the 2012 presidential election marked a low point for college-aged voter turnout, revealing that only 38 percent of citizens aged 18-24 showed up to vote, down from an equally unimpressive 44 percent turnout in 2008. This seems almost oxymoronic given the amount of political discourse that occurs on college campuses; students love to argue about political issues, yet we are the demographic with the lowest presence on election day.
At this point, the common refrain of “my singular voice can’t actually make a difference” seems especially ridiculous, as the 62 percent of people aged 18-24 who failed to vote in the past election absolutely make up a sufficiently significant portion of the population.
The story told by these statistics is one that both parties will try to push this coming election cycle: if you have any sort of political opinion one way or another, go out and vote. In the grand scheme of things, one vote may not seem numerically significant, but if each student who adopts this cynical mindset were to actually show up to the polls, suddenly those voices and their votes would mean something.
Furthermore, registering to vote is not a difficult process. It is possible to register online in many states, and, though you may be out of state for college, it is often easy to obtain an absentee ballot and vote anyway.
Collin Brennan enforces each of these sentiments in an article for USA Today, noting that by not voting, millennials are ensuring that their voices are not heard on issues that are important to them, such as college tuition. So, by this logic, not only is voting easy to do, it is also absolutely necessary in order to make sure you are accurately represented.
Come November 8, I’ll be sure to cast my vote, provided I don’t lose my absentee ballot (which, honestly, is an alarmingly real possibility). Given the statistical support of the importance of voting, I strongly encourage you to do the same.