As a 20 year old, this presidential election is the first one in which I am eligible to vote, and the same is true for most of my peers.
While this seems like a prospect that should be extremely exciting, it is actually quite anticlimactic. Most students around my age seem disenchanted with the idea of voting, and many whom I talk to are considering not voting at all.
That being said, I also see more social media posts about our presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, than I do about any other single subject. To me, this seems like quite a contradictory notion. Students share and post exceeding numbers of political memes and videos on social media, yet many do not plan to actually exercise their civil duty to vote.
Clearly, most of the shared political content is quite obviously taking a stance on either the Democratic or Republican side of the election, either shaming Donald Trump for his offensive behavior or pointing to Hillary’s suspicious past.
So, while people are willing to blast a candidate on social media, perhaps even threatening to flee the country upon that candidate’s election, many still will not take the precautionary measure of voting.
This is not to say that many people my age who take to social media to express views are not also voting to solidify those views; I am only pointing out that there is a large group who post and share strongly worded views without the intention of voting.
I am unsure whether this lack of enthusiasm towards voting is specific to this election or specific to our generation, but I think the concept that no single voter’s ballot truly counts plays a large role.
Due to the Electoral College and societal ideas about voting, it has been ingrained in our minds that our votes will not ever sway the election one way or another. One can most likely guess the outcome of his/her state’s election without fail, and for this reason, many refrain from meaninglessly casting a ballot.
This is quite a sad pattern, as there is a constant pressure on our generation to be the ones who change the world, that our ideas are those that create the country’s future, so it would seem fitting that our political ideas should matter greatly.
Another possible reason for the hesitance to vote in millennials could simply be an efficiency issue. Many people my age are in college, often in a different state than their original home, and this requires slightly more of a process in order to vote.
This process, coupled with the idea that a single vote is obsolete, could lead to a student skipping the ballot, instead completing the easier task of sharing interesting or funny posts on social media about their views.
This is a less legitimate excuse, however, because many schools, like Union College, provide resources to help students register to vote in order to encourage political participation.
Even this assistance, however, is not always enough, as many elect to skip the ballot and instead participate in the easy click and share of political posts. Essentially, while there are a great deal of motivated students who voice their views and vote in the election, there is still quite a lot of remaining people who will not perform this civic duty.
This is quite sad to see, especially among the millennial age group, as we are supposed to be the ones who shape the future. While posting political opinions on a social platform is certainly productive and conducive to political discourse amongst peers, voting is even more important.
If we all believe our vote does not matter or voting is too much of a process, then the election will still go on, and it will simply be shaped by those who are not restrained by these societal notions.