Home Featured News Voter apathy: Why are millennials not voting?

Voter apathy: Why are millennials not voting?

Voting stickers at First Presbyterian Church in River Forest on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in Chicago. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Rachael Yadlowsky – Collegiate Staff

As election day approaches there is talk everywhere about millennials, people ages 18 to 35, who aren’t going to vote. It raises questions among the older generations about why they wouldn’t want to use this power that they have to choose their  next president.

Millennials have become as large of a political force as baby boomers and together they roughly make up 31 percent of the overall electorate.

An NPR article on young voters, stated that millennials only made up 19 percent of the electorate in the 2012 presidential election. That is only about half of the share between the baby boomers.

“In fact, Millennials continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any age group,” Asma Khalid, the writer of the article stated, “Only about 46 percent voted in the last presidential election compared to 72 percent of the Silent Generation.”

Two out of five millennials that were interviewed on the Grand Rapids Community College campus said that they would not be voting.

“I’m not voting this year because I didn’t get registered in time, but also because I don’t really think my vote would matter,” said Gabi DePoy,18, from Grand Rapids. “I don’t really want either of them in office.”

Kate Lathrop, 22, of Grand Rapids, echoed a similar view.

“I don’t think my vote really matters,” Lathrop said.

Though studies show that people become more stable voters as they age, Kawashima-Ginsberg, a woman that has studied changes in voter turnout and quoted in the article, admits that millennials aren’t reliable voters compared to their elders.

GRCC professor of Political Science Yan Bai said in an email that there are two prevailing factors in millennials not voting.

“The first is the thought of making no or little difference in the vote,” Bai said. “We call it the lack of political efficacy. It reflects the absence of faith in the government or candidates.”

Bai said the second reason is apathy in millennial voters.

“It is common among younger voter in general as they perceive elections are irrelevant to their daily lives,” Bai said.

But not all millennials are apathetic.

“I am voting this fall,” said Jacob Clopp, 18, from Grand Rapids “I think it’s very important to come together and vote who our next leader is.”