Knowing is half the ballot

With such an important midterm election coming up, one would think that a place that is supposed to encourage knowledge and consciousness, would be sharing voter registration information and awareness with the demographic that votes the least.

Pew Trusts did a survey and determined that only six percent of unregistered voters were asked at school about voter registration.

The school doesn’t have a steady year-round promotion of where or how you can register to vote, which every person is given the opportunity to partake in, or at least be aware of. There also isn’t information about who is running and what propositions are present on the ballot.

Millennials are now as large of a political force as Baby Boomers according to an analysis of U.S. census data from the Pew Research Center. They define Millennials as those who were born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018), and anyone born from 1997 onward will be part of a new Generation Z.  

The Silent/Greatest Generation (ages 71+) is roughly 12 percent of the vote and Generation X (ages 36-51) make up about 25 percent. Millennials and the Baby Boomers both make up 31 percent of the vote.

So if we are make up a big percentage of the vote, and people in that demographic aren’t represented, the results will generally not lean in the interest of the younger generation.

In fact, according to NPR, Millennials and Generation Z continue to have the lowest voter turnout of the age groups. Only 46 percent of Millenials group voted in the last presidential election, which means they are terribly under-represented. This comparing to a 76 percent voter turnout for those 60 years of age or older.

With all the current controversy, it was thought that the youth would be compelled to register and use their voices, but a recent Vox poll stated that only 28 percent of young voters were “absolutely certain” that they would be voting in the midterm elections.

A huge factor of why the youth doesn’t vote is because they aren’t even sure or aware of how to register, which creates a lack of interest. If Pierce and other colleges could assist their students, or at least give them the option to obtain that information, it could have a big impact on the elections to come.

The age difference brings a new and fresh perspective to the laws and decisions being passed. So how can Pierce College improve it’s voter awareness without infringing on students day to day routines?

For one, Pierce could post the online registration website link on our website, giving students a quick and easy way to get directed straight to the voter registration.

Pierce could also have posters in designated areas on campus that give instruction on where and how they can go about the process, just to see these things on campus might spark the drive to want to do so. They should also include who is running and what propositions are up for vote.

They could even go as far as creating voter awareness workshops, since there are already a variety of workshops that the campus provides for students.

The Center for American Progress reported that almost 92 million eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 presidential elections, that is a abundant potential for a change in elected officials.

Pierce College should do it’s part in encouraging the youth to exercise their rights as Americans, and help them put the people they want in office and the propositions they agree with approved.

According to the California Secretary of State website, after the 15-day prior registration deadline, which has already passed, in most elections any individual may conditionally register to vote and cast a provisional ballot by visiting their county elections official.

Midterm elections will take place on November 6 of this year, you can find your polling location at https://www.headcount.org/find-your-polling-place.