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The Importance of Young Civic Engagement

Chicagoans flock to Lake View voting stations.

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Voters in action in the auditorium at Lake View High School this morning on November 6th. Lake View is one of the selected voting spots in Chicago and people from all across the area have congregated to make their voice heard. “Voting is a civil right. If you don’t vote it creates more trouble and anxiety with the youth and adds to the atmosphere of unrest in our nation.” AJ, Chicago, IL.

Voters in action in the auditorium at Lake View High School this morning on November 6th. Lake View is one of the selected voting spots in Chicago and people from all across the area have congregated to make their voice heard. “Voting is a civil right. If you don’t vote it creates more trouble and anxiety with the youth and adds to the atmosphere of unrest in our nation.” AJ, Chicago, IL.

Voters in action in the auditorium at Lake View High School this morning on November 6th. Lake View is one of the selected voting spots in Chicago and people from all across the area have congregated to make their voice heard. “Voting is a civil right. If you don’t vote it creates more trouble and anxiety with the youth and adds to the atmosphere of unrest in our nation.” AJ, Chicago, IL.

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With the Midterm Elections today, it becomes more and more imperative that we, the youth, get out and vote! As many of us are 18 (or soon to be) it’s important that we know that, as young adults, we make up fifty percent of the voting population. Meaning we have the power to change the course of history and define the politics of this year and the years to come.

Being that I turn eighteen two days after the Midterm Elections, I have made it my duty to energize everyone possible to get up and vote! The Midterm Elections set up who is in charge of the House and the Senate during the remainder of Trump’s term. These elections will see that we choose 35 of the 100 seats in the US Senate along with the 435 members of the US House of Representatives, both comprising the lower chamber of Congress.

The Midterm Elections give the people the power to change the course of Trump’s term by either reducing Trump’s power or working in his favor.  In other words, it’s the end of that 30 day free trial you signed up for–or in this case, the 2 year free trial–and you now have the option to continue as you agreed, or drop your subscription and make some changes by, I don’t know… completely changing the ruling political party of the House and Senate to insure a fair division of power within our government?

Although it may seem like the most important people in the Elections are the people we’re voting for… that’s just not the case. We are the people in charge here. We are the people who give these politicians power in the first place. We also, subsequently, are the ones who take away their power. Funny how that works.  The Midterm Elections is our time to make some critical decisions regarding the people we put in charge in the first place. We were given the right to vote at 18 only 46 years ago and not enough people our age take full advantage of it. There are thousands upon thousands of individuals who would die for the opportunity to vote their governing officials into office in multiple countries that do not have the privileges that we do. Although I will concede to the fact that the system is imperfect, the only way we can improve it is by participating in elections and having a say in the people being elected into office along with the bills and acts being put into place by our government.

As fewer people tend to vote in the Midterm Elections as a whole, it makes our participation in it that much more important! Young people ages 18-29 tend to register to vote in higher numbers by the midterms but never actually get up and do the deed, making voter turnout incredibly low. By this time, many people claim to become disillusioned by the acts committed by administration and resort to thinking that no action is some sort of action. When in reality, not taking action and voting results in less of your voice actually being heard. If you don’t vote your chance of being properly represented in our government goes flying out the window.  It is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken in order to enact actual change and reform. Throughout history, young people have been known for sparking revolutions and being a force of change if we put our minds to it.

The policies being put into place are going to impact us for the rest of our lives. It is in our best interest to make this country the best country it can possibly be and by not voting we are allowing people who won’t be around in the next twenty years the ability to decide our future. I don’t like anyone making a decision for me nevertheless a decision that’s may outlive the people that made it. When we don’t vote, we give up our right to change the world politically. Today many people from all across the city are coming to our school to exercise their right to vote and are putting their faith into the system.

I asked some voters their thoughts on youth civic engagement and this is what they had to say: “In terms of youth voting, it is important to vote because it sends a message to our government about what we want as a nation and what young people want for the future of our country.” DC, Chicago, IL.

On that note, I’d like to emphasize that the best way to protect democracy is to practice it. If we want change, we are the change, and this is our time to prove it. Every vote counts!

 

 

These interviews have been condensed and edited.

 

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