Voting: It Does Affect You
By Cassidy Levenhagen
The 26 amendment of the United States Constitution gives any citizen over the age of 18 the right to vote. In the 2014 midterm elections, only 13 percent of people that are 18-29 years old took advantage of that right. What I have been trying to figure out is why more young people do not vote.
When asking around, I received the same response countless times: “it doesn’t affect me.” What these people are not stopping to realize is how dramatically their lives can actually be affected by the results of political elections. For example, Governor Scott Walker is planning on cutting $300 million dollars from the UW education system, which includes a $114 million dollar cut to UW Madison alone. Do we, as citizens, want to take a backseat when it comes to the education system?
Education is the future: the future doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, nurses and politicians. Personally, I think education is one of the most important systems the government can invest in because it is investing in the future. I do not know about everyone else, but I want a doctor who knows what he is doing, and for that to happen, he is going to need a quality education. This is an example where everyone is affected, not just young adults.
Every politician is elected to represent the people – all of the people – so it affects you. I am going off the assumption here that most people between the ages of 18 and 29, at best, fall into the middle class category because they attend college or have not been working very long. If more than 13 percent of us showed up to vote, we would not be misrepresented by elected officials who are only working for the wealthiest top 1 percent of the country and the rich corporations. As a middle class group, we should be voting for those who push for equal representation, that way we are affected positively.
Each part of the government will affect each citizen at some point in their life. For instance, parents with children will probably want to send them to a trustworthy, affordable childcare center. The Obama administration is currently working on making child care affordable because lower and middle class families are struggling to afford good, quality care for their children.
It is important to keep people who are looking out for all citizens in office. The influence that the government has on everyday life only becomes more noticeable with age. Take driving, for instance. Fifteen-year-olds probably do not notice how bad some roads are, but once they start driving, commuting to work or school, they will begin to notice pot holes and deteriorating roads far more. The roads are property of the government and it is their job to fix them, but before they can do that, we need to elect the candidates that have plans to put programs like this in effect.
Roads are not the only thing adults have to be conscientious of – taxes are also important for citizens to consider. Nobody likes taxes, and the fact that they are continually increasing does not provide any comfort. As college students, it is difficult to afford taxes as it is, so representatives that continually vote for tax increases is not beneficial or practical for our age group. Making the decision to vote allows our age group to become equally represented.
So when I hear people say that they do not vote because the election outcomes do not affect them, I can not help but wonder what party they think is not affecting them. The voter turnout in the 2014 midterm was the lowest it has been since 1942 during World War II. Our generation is the next up to lead this country, and should start acting like it by becoming more involved in elections.