Generation Z’s superpower should be voting in large numbers
Generation Z, those born between 1996 and 2010, now hold a power so great, they can change the future if they chose to harness it.
I experienced this power last May, when Georgia held its primary election. This was a special day for me, as it was also the day of my high school graduation, so I made sure to cast my ballot early in the morning. When arriving at the school before being transported to the Georgia World Congress Center, I spoke to dozens of members of my Southwest DeKalb High School graduating class, and asked who had gone to vote, or who had planned to go vote.
The responses I heard troubled me. The majority of students were unaware that an election was taking place. A few people asked me how they could vote, only to be disappointed when I explained to them that the registration period had ended a month earlier. The irony of the situation made it worse. Many of those students complain about the actions of elected officials, or express concern for things that elected officials directly control; yet when given the opportunity to choose officials, they ignore them.
Most students, during their senior year of high school, will reach the legal voting age. Registering to vote is a simple process. In Georgia, voter registration can be completed online from any device. If you have a driver’s license, or a state-issued identification card, you can register to vote right now at www. mvp.sos.ga.gov and start making a difference today.
From January to when the primary registration period closed, I encouraged people of legal age to register to vote. During this time, I realized that many high school seniors don’t understand the importance of voting. They said things like, “It’s only one vote,” and, “It doesn’t affect me anyway.” What they fail to realize is that every major social change in this country was achieved through grassroots movements.
We live in a nation predicated on the idea that one person can make a difference. If every teen voted in the first election after their 18th birthday, the turnout would be enough to change the outcome of elections, and would help the interests of young people become priorities for our elected officials.
On Election Day, the winner is determined by which candidate can best mobilize their support bases, not the one with the most overall support. This is because of our nation’s problem with low voter turnouts. By increasing the Gen Z turnout, currently the lowest among active voters, elections would likely be decided by the cumulative impact of Gen Z’s new voters. This would increase political efficacy among youth and adults, and also force campaigns to appeal to a younger audience. The result would be elected officials who are held accountable to all constituents, young and old. This accountability would affect policy decisions, urging politicians to consider their younger voters.
This activism is vital because elected officials shape how Gen Z will live for most of their adult lives. Suddenly, the youth will have opinions on important issues, and will be more moved to take actions to fix them.
The youth of Gen Z can be a powerful coalition that will bring positive change for the present, and set the stage for their own future.
It’s not too late to register for November’s election. Through our actions we may lay the foundation for a better world for our children.