Growing up with technology at their fingertips along with a reasonable understanding of how to use technology responsibly, young adults are bringing a new light and new voices to the 2020 election.
Personally, as a first time voter, when I received my election ballot, I couldn’t wait to fill it out. I had a say in decisions regarding my local, state, and federal governments; it felt like my opinion mattered. When the ballot is mailed, there’s a sense of accomplishment, and the feeling of being part of something monumental.
In the past, young people have been showing up at the election poll at low rates, but that is now changing. According to NPR, in the 2016 election, the percentage of ages 18-29 who voted was 46%. For 2020, 54% of those young people are predicted to vote. And in terms of the 2020 elections, politicians are saying that young adults could play a major role in the outcome.
The young generation didn’t seem to show much of an interest in elections before, not as much as older people and millennials, so why now?
A lot of stuff has happened in our lifetime, and we can’t stay silent.
Decisions regarding racial injustice, immigration, college debt, gun violence, climate change, abortion, and COVID-19 are all on the table; and they are all topics that interest young voters.
We’re an outspoken and active generation that’s not known for being silent. When we want to speak up about something we feel strongly about, we protest, we march, we speak.
We are a generation of activists. We are more diverse, more open-minded than our predecessors.
A lot of us were in high school when the 2016 presidential election was happening, and I can remember the media already talking about the 2020 election. It feels like yesterday when Donald Trump became president, but the four year term is coming to an end, and it’s time for a new era.
2020 was always going to be an important year for the country, but the publicity the election has received has made everyone feel that each individual matters.
“Nobody wants a bad country. Our vote is for who is going to lead the country the way we want it to be led,” said Martina Ortega, a first year and music education major at Seattle Pacific University.
All votes add up, each ballot counts. This year, a generation who has done the homework on issues in our nation, gets to participate in making decisions.
The young generation doesn’t just sit around, binge TV shows, make TikTok videos, and eat junk food; they pay attention to what’s going on and step up when needed.
“We’re getting really passionate about issues at stake more than before,” second year history major Rebecca Cavanaugh said.
Ortega said, “I’m proud of our generation. Our generation has been through a lot and we’re not done fighting.”
No country is perfect, and America has plenty of flaws, and people are acknowledging that and want to do something about it.
We do the research, we protest, we listen, and now, we vote.
And we’re happy to vote. We are taking advantage of the opportunity.
“I feel excited to have a say in something. Happy to know my voice matters,” said Ortega. “It’s so important to vote, and to use our voices to amplify those who can’t vote in this election. I’m very privileged to have the right to vote, so I want to take advantage of it.”
The time we are in is special. We’re a young and powerful group of people who have a very loud voice. We take to the streets when we see a problem, we carry picket signs and lift our fists to fight for what we believe in.
Not everyone agrees and the proper people and measures to vote, but every one sees the importance of voting. Once we turn 18, we have the duty and right to express their opinion through their ballot. Now, it’s our turn to decide.
“Our generation is resilient, we’ve been through alot,” stated Ortega.
Amid a year of turmoil, the world has refocused on issues of racial injustice, police brutality, immigration issues, political divisions, and are now living through a pandemic. What a great year to start speaking up. It’s been one thing after another, and we’re not shutting up about anything. In this election, unlike any other, has become a question of life and death for many.
For me, this is history in the making. We’re living through history, and by voting, we’re paving the way for future Americans. They’ll look back and see young people speaking up, setting a new standard for youth voices.