Younger generation disenchanted by political climate

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It’s no secret that younger generations generally have significantly lower election turnout rates. The U.S. Census Bureau cites that only 17.1 percent of 18- to-24-year-olds voted in 2014.

According to The Washington Post, adolescents are “uninterested” in the political process because they feel their opinion and vote won’t have an impact.

“I just don’t feel I can change politics. Or, if I could help change it, I’d just be voting for someone whose solutions I don’t agree with,” said 25 year old Austin Batey.

However, Senior Anahi Toolabian plans to vote, and she believes her voice can make a change.

Senior Stephanie Kacius agrees, noting that the right to vote is something that should not be taken for granted.

“Most of the time I think people are just picking the lesser of two evils when it comes to who their voting for, which I think is unfortunate but the reality,” she said.

“Politics right now are really disheartening. I think it’s why you see in the polls that young people are not affiliating with political parties,” said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote, an organization whose mission is to engage and build political power in millennials.

Founder of Civics Education Network (CEN) Stephen Young believes that having open discussions with students will instigate students to become more engaged in politics.

“If we want kids to vote, to be engaged, we need to address them directly, hear their concerns, give them a reason to be engaged. This means honest, direct, adult-like conversations, not high speed ‘kid’ conversations,” said Young.

Though many high school seniors may be old enough to vote, one-quarter of them demonstrated only a proficient level of civics knowledge, based on the latest results from a prominent national exam according to The Washington Post.

This national exam showcases civics-based skills and illustrates how schools are not providing the knowledge students need in order to be politically engaged.

Senior Neil Dhote believes students should be optimistic of the future and believe that despite the fact that they may not have the best knowledge of politics, it’s still important to stay involved.

“It’s dangerous if everyone has the mindset of ‘Oh, my one little vote won’t do anything.’ The important thing to remember is that every vote can make a difference,” he said.

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