Let’s face it - students in college and those who have just graduated, don’t have the greatest record on voter participation.
Many believe that Millennials don’t vote because they are lazy, entitled, and selfish. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
This generation cares deeply about social justice issues and has activism in their DNA. Millennials (ages 22-37-year olds) and Post-Millennials or “Deltas,” (born mid-1990s to mid-2000), have redefined what our society values today.
The youngest of these Millenials are the last to remember September 11, 2001. They were some of the first students to go through school typing, rather than writing by hand. High School students are now lobbying for gun control. Young women have taken hold of the #MeToo movement and are fighting against sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
So, if Millennials care about social issues, but they are not voting, or registering to vote, then what’s the problem?
It started when the oldest of the Millennials voted for the first time in 2000, during the Bush vs. Gore election. The winner of the Presidential election hinged on a manual recount of several counties’ votes in Florida. A Supreme Court decision halted the recount and announced a winner with only a lead of 327 votes, out of millions. Some of these new voters walked away from that election disenchanted.
Millennials and Deltas are the most marginalized generations; they are more diverse and fluid in their identities. As a result, more Millennials and Deltas face marginalization and disenfranchisement than what other generations have experienced.
In 2014, 18-20-year-olds set a record low turnout at the polls. In the 2016 primary and general elections, access to voting was a significant issue for college students. Students either skipped class to vote or skipped voting to go to class. And for Millenials who are less likely to own a car than previous generations, getting to the polls created another barrier.