Teen Voting: No Excuse


photo via ThoughtCo.

Turning 18 symbolizes a turning point in the lives of many American teens, granting us the ability to vote and participate in democracy. While this unique gift grants newly minted adults the ability to have a say and make a stand, many do not take advantage of the opportunity. According to an article by Duke University, only 43 percent of eligible voters in the age range of 18 to 29 showed up to the polls in 2016. 


While the election which just passed may not have seemed as enticing to young voters as the upcoming presidential one, every vote cast can make a difference. However, many teens will decline to vote, citing a lack of knowledge about the issues themselves. In order to ensure novice voters are knowledgeable, schools should include local, state and government issues as part of the curriculum of government class. Students take this course during their junior or senior year, and it would stress the importance of studying the issues.


Another reason many decide against voting when they are able to is a lack of time. Many prior commitments absorb hours which could be spent at the voting booth. With the school day and extracurricular activities, modern teens have no time. The solution to this: absentee ballots. Many working professionals who have previously scheduled business trips and meetings receive an absentee ballot in the mail. There is no excuse not to vote. 


Voting is an essential part of democracy, as the American tradition dates back to the victory of the American Revolution. While not all representatives are elected, many are. Those who complain about their representation but make no move to change it are hypocritical. Stand up, use your voice and make change happen. The next presidential election is in less than a year, so make your opinion heard.


Many prominent issues will rise to the forefront in the 2020 race. Gun control, immigration and health care will be the focal point of many of the hopeful campaigns. Care about these issues? Then get involved. The requirements to vote include being 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen. If you meet these qualifications, there is nothing stopping you. Just register to vote by the deadline, which you can do online. My September birthday means I will be at the polls in November, and I hope to see you there.