By Alexa Doiron
Every four years, the country comes out in swarms to vote during the presidential primaries. It is common knowledge however, that voter turnout for the younger portion of the population is less than satisfactory. When candidates are charging forward on the campaign trail, most fail to focus on the matters that are important to the youth, and for good reason.
It is more important than ever for the millennials to go out and cast their ballots not only in the primaries but in all elections from state to federal. Candidates skip over this portion of the population because they know that the younger votes aren’t going to win an election.
However, that means that the issues that are important to a younger audience are not only disregarded, but are also not being focused on when a politician takes office. Take Bernie Sanders, for example. Here is a candidate that is most popular, by a landslide, with the younger American demographic. While this seems great, it may not be the best for his campaign because the youth cannot be relied upon to actually go out and vote.
The millennial generation is the largest in the nation, surpassing even the numbers of the baby boomer population that came before them. Think about the impact it would have not only on the focus of campaigns, but the actions of politicians in office, if this age group were to show up in full force to vote.
Millennials need to come out to the polls and represent because, let’s face it, most of the issues the millennials have are ones placed upon them by previous generations. This is a group of Americans who suffer from higher levels of poverty and unemployment more than either of the two previous generations.
One well known promotion for younger voters is “Rock the Vote.” Rock the Vote is a campaign that targets the younger American audience and encourages them go out and vote. This campaign focuses on promoting the idea that the millennial generation can change the political climate and the future of America if it can take the action to become involved.
The advertisements usually involve some sort of celebrity telling the audience how important it is to be politically involved. However, if you search past these short ads, the Rock the Vote campaign has some really great informative material on why younger voter turnout is so very imperative. The website even has easy access to links that show visitors where and how to vote.
Voter registration is easily done. It can be done through mail, online, or even in person. For regular elections, the registration must be done 22 days prior. In person registration can be done at places such as the DMV or other public location like the library. When looking at residency, students may be allowed to cast a vote as a Virginia resident if they consider Virginia to be their primary address for a period of time and have intent to remain a resident. However, it is not necessary to remain a resident in Virginia after college.
For voters who do not wish to establish their residency in Virginia, there is always the option of an absentee ballot. This is another form of registration that is not difficult. Absentee ballots are specifically for students who are away from their state for studies. The application for this can be downloaded online and mailed in to the local elections office. However, this must be done seven days prior to the election so it is important to get it done as soon as possible.