Despite High Turnouts, Many Millennials Tuning Out Midterms
ATLANTA, GA — Georgia shattered the number of its registered voters this election season, but in Atlanta, like many other cities and across the nation, many young, Millennial-aged voters aren’t planning to participate in hugely important 2018 midterms. According to a new poll from NBC News/GenForward, less than a third of the 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed said they will definitely vote next Tuesday.
One of those unlikely to vote is Atlanta’s Aaron, age 25, who told New York Magazine he needs to see “exciting” candidates before casting his ballot. Democrats such as Stacey Abrams, who is making an historic bid in Georgia to become the nation’s first African-American female governor in history, need that voting demographic to fuel a much-hoped-for “blue wave” against President Donald Trump’s administration and GOP control of Congress.
Abrams is squaring off against Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia’s nationally watched governor’s race. Kemp, who is also Georgia’s secretary of state, has come under fire during the campaign for allegedly taking part in voter repression efforts through his office.
Aaron told New York Magazine that he volunteered for Bernie Sanders, but became disillusioned when Sanders pledged his support to Hillary Clinton after the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “That just really killed it for me, he said. “I just have no respect for that. It’s the same thing on the other side. Look at Ted Cruz, who’s spent his last two years being made fun of by Donald Trump, and then we see Trump saying Cruz is the right guy in Texas to go against Beto O’Rourke. It’s just so much political theater, and it really just turned me off entirely.”
Aaron also is upset the Democratic Party platform seemingly has no position on global warming. “I just do not understand why I would vote for a party that doesn’t care about me in any way. They can say, ‘Sure, we’ll lower student interest rates.’ Well, I don’t [care] about student interest rates if I’m not going to live past 13 more years on this planet.
“There are people that are exciting. Bernie was exciting, Cynthia [Nixon] was exciting, and Alexandria [Ocasio-Cortez] is exciting. So would I vote in the future? If somebody came along that was exciting like that? Yeah. Probably.”
Here’s what some other Millennials told the publication about voting:
Samantha, 22, Old Bridge, NJ — “I think there’s a way to be an informed nonvoter. I’d rather have an informed nonvoter than an uninformed voter going in and making a choice they don’t understand.”
Reese, 23, Hudson, Ohio — “I never felt certain enough to vote.”
Tim, 27, Austin, TX — “[There’s] kind of a problem with social attitudes around, you know, ‘It’s your civic duty to vote.’ I once told a co-worker I didn’t vote, and she said, ‘That’s really irresponsible,’ in this judgmental voice. You can’t build a policy around calling people irresponsible. You need to make people enthusiastic and engaged.”
Megan, 29, San Francisco — “It’s incredibly difficult for hourly workers or young people who are in rotational programs or travel frequently for their careers to vote. I wish every state’s rules were the same so there was not so much confusion and it was easy to find straightforward information on how exactly to get absentee ballots.”
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Drew, 21, Berkeley, CA — “Why should I vote for a party that doesn’t really do anything for me as a voter? Millennials don’t vote because a lot of politicians are appealing to older voters. We deserve politicians that are willing to do stuff for our future instead of catering to people who will not be here for our future.”
Thomas, 28, NY, NY — “For a while, I thought it was an immoral act to vote. It means that we’re giving our approval to a system that I totally do not want to validate.”
Nathan, 28, San Diego, CA — “You’re sent things in the mail, but as a 28-year-old, I read everything online. It’s a wild theory, but setting voting up so that it’s all on social media, putting all that information in just an Instagram Story, in a Snapchat filter or whatever — bulleted-out, easy-to-read, digestible content — would encourage me to vote.”
Meet other young people around the nation who say they probably won’t vote in New York Magazine.
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