Will the Younger Generations Actually Vote?
The younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z (the demographic cohort following Millennials) notoriously are expected to have a low voter turnout.
That is why there are so many campaigns, like Vote in Real Life, encouraging Millennials to go out and vote.
This will be the first presidential election where the Millennial numbers are proportionate to the Baby Boomers.
“Because Generation Y is the largest generation in American history, it’s a big deal if it remains one of the most liberal generations ever. But there’s a huge, inescapable problem with the viability of Millennial politics today: Young people just don’t vote. Between 1964 and 2012, youth voter turnout in presidential elections has fallen below 50 percent, and Baby Boomers now outvote their children’s generation by a stunning 30 percentage points. Millennials might make a lot of noise between presidential elections, but in November, politicians remember what young people are: All throat and no vote,” writes The Atlantic.
The younger generations have a lot of political power, potentially. The keyword being potentially. Millennials are expected to have the lowest voter turnout of any group again in 2016.
“In the 2012 election, voters between the ages of 18-29 made up just 19 percent of the electorate — that’s HALF the share of the Baby Boomer voting bloc (who were 38 percent of the electorate,)” writes NPR. “Only about 46 percent voted in the last presidential election; compared to 72 percent of the Silent Generation, who habitually punch above their weight.”
Even though this group is projected to have a low turnout this election, this will also be the first time all millennials are old enough to vote.
“They’re maturing, and many of them are facing the third election as young adults, so that is the age where young people would start to transition to more consistent voters,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, an organization that studies and aims to boost youth voter turnout.
According to CIRCLE, as the generation matures, the more they vote. However, less of this segment actually voted in 2012 than the election before. In 2008, 44% of Millennials voted and then in 2012, it dropped to 38%. Will this number only increase with this election?
The problem is that Millennials don’t feel like any of the 2016 presidential candidates represent their interests, causing them to not vote at all or vote for an independent candidate like Johnson or Stein, or what they call a “lesser of the evils.”
So what about the next generation, generation z, following Millennials, will they vote in the 2020 election?
But as history has proven, the voter turnout in these younger groups only seems to be decreasing over time.