Millennials have registered to vote, they have watched the debates and now Election Day is almost here. It is all very exciting because for many college students, this will be their first time voting in a presidential election. However, in the past, millennials have done everything but come out to vote.
During the 2012 presidential election, only 46 percent of eligible millennials voted, according to the Pew Research Center. Whether it’s because of apathy, frustration, confusion or ignorance, young people are evading their civic duty as American citizens. This has led politicians to focus on the needs and wants of those who do vote—the Baby Boomers.
The Baby Boomers, aged 52 to 70, have very different concerns than millennials, who are 18 to 35, and unfortunately, the concerns of younger generations often fall to the wayside in the political sphere. The Pew Research Center reported that 69 percent of baby boomers voted in the 2012 presidential election. Therefore, politicians cater to their concerns. This leaves many politicians to turn their attention to issues like Medicare and Social Security. Admittedly, these are neither interesting nor relevant subjects for millennials in 2016.
In 2016, millennials want candidates who are concerned with the economy and crippling student debt. Yet, candidates will never focus on these issues if millennials never follow through and cast their vote.
This presidential election is particularly important for millennials in New Jersey. If they are able to demonstrate high turnout on Election Day, it will most likely change the tone of the upcoming gubernatorial election. A high millennial turnout during the 2016 presidential election will catch the attention of gubernatorial candidates, causing them to cater to issues important to millennials.
This election could change how politicians view the millennial vote in the future. Politicians will have no choice but to listen.
There is no doubt that millennials understand the importance of voting, but actually getting to the polls is a different story. Millennials in New Jersey have the opportunity to change the narrative and become one of the most powerful and influential groups of electorate that American politics, and specifically New Jersey politics, has ever seen.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Be sure to get out and vote.