‘Twas the week before Election Day, when all through the community, not a student was paying attention—what a wasted opportunity.
This is not entirely true. It’s hard to say how many students are actively planning to vote in this year’s ballot, but what’s notable is the amount of people who register and participate in California overall. The state was ranked 45th in the former and 48th in the ladder, according to the Census Report on Registration and Voting for the 2012 Election.
These results may be a surprise to some, but also make sense to a handful of others. While younger voters don’t make up the majority of people able to contribute, their participation can leave an impactful mark on any given outcome. Holiday festivities may be right around the corner for the fall season, but there are ways to reach students despite all the distractions.
First of all, what are things that can be done to encourage more participation? It’s easy to make the argument that a majority of the younger crowd doesn’t care enough to vote, but this doesn’t solve the problem—it makes things worse.
To gain the interest of a student, people need to reinvent themselves, actively absorb and inspire reasons why every vote counts. Give the youth something they can relate to, a connection to their interests and most prominently, in a way that caters to them.
From a contemporary standpoint, some of the simplest ways are creating engaging social media content, as well as email communication. Another way of promoting important information is open discussion in the classroom.
Regardless of the classes students take, everyone is affected by an election. With all the mandatory safety concerns and drills campuses are enforcing, shouldn’t there also be a requirement for people to learn the benefits of voting, and what it means to them?
It’s common to complain a holiday like Halloween doesn’t give individuals any time off, yet why doesn’t Election Day get brought up nearly as much for the same proposal? Sure it’s nowhere as fun as dressing up and trick-or-treating, but it still requires active participation to be effective—not to mention it’s a lot safer.
Another hoop to jump through is the act of voting itself, which means first having to register. This causes laziness and frustration, when the end result is the same: scratching off a few boxes with a No. 2 pencil. Some states send ballots directly to voters, making the process a lot more convenient and effortless to get started.
One of the most difficult factors to overcome is weaving through the necessary information students want to hear, while not being sidetracked trying to. Research can be done online, but with the freedom of media absorption these days, readers can push away things that don’t matter to them, taking in only what’s most relevant to their interests.
Students may not want tons of information about new policies and propositions shoved in their faces, but the truth is many of these directly affect them, and will have an impact on their future.
It’s better to discover information now, and attempt to create change, then not vote at all and realize the effect something can have from a lack of participation. Students understand these possibilities, and inherently want to make sure good things will come from something they took part in. Now it’s time to make a gut decision, and vote by mail, or at the polls on Nov. 4.