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Jett Drecksel

Prof. Barnam 2010 F-16


November 21, 2016
The 21 Percent
The youth vote in the United States makes up twenty one percent of
Americas registered voters, however, in the last election voter turnout for
this age group came in at just shy of twenty percent. (1) This represents the
lowest percentage of votes by youth in a federal election in the history of
youth voting rights. This means that one fifth of one fifth of the United
States voting population, those aged 18-24, voted for leaders in the last
election. The candidates who won or lost had the youth vote under
represented by almost 80 percent. More than one fifth of youth in the United
States didnt take a stand in who their leaders would be. To better
understand the reasons behind this lack of turnout we have to learn about
the process.
First we must begin by understanding how voting works in the United
States.
Voting, as defined by Merriam Websters (2), is the official choice that you
make in an election, meeting, etc. by casting a ballot, raising your hand,
speaking your choice aloud. In the United States we rely on a federal
republic voting system. This means elected individuals are voted to power
using the Electoral College. In the Electoral College electors are chosen and
cast their votes for the most popular candidate in the state. This process
ensures that each state has at least 2 votes plus the number of its house of
representatives. This means that those states with large populations have
an extremely high elector count, such as California with 55. All states, with

the exception of Maine and Nebraska, have a winner take all system. (3)
Whichever candidate takes the popular vote wins all of that states electoral
votes. To better understand voting I will present 3 sections. What is your
voting eligibility as a youth, what is the impact of voting outcome, as well as
how you can vote?
Your ability to vote.
Youth voters make up part of the millennial generation, about 93 million
strong, with nearly half coming from communities of diverse living and
situations. Currently the generation is more populous than the baby
boomers. (4) Even though they make up nearly one third of the United States
population only around 20 percent of all voters aged 18 to 24 voted in the
last presidential election. (1) When a citizen of the United States turns
eighteen they have to right to suffrage. This means an individual can go to
an election place and cast a vote for their electable officials. While discussing
the ability to vote we should look back at the history of the youth vote. The
26th amendment was ratified on July 1st, 1971 and the legal voting age was
lowered from 21 years of age to 18. (6) This was due largely to arguments
that young men could go to war and be drafted but not vote for the leaders
of their country. In the year following this amendment, youth voter turnout
reached a historic 52 percent of eligible youth who voted, this would drop
drastically in the following years. (7) Through the 1980s youth voting
turnout progressively became worse until it reached its lowest turnout in the
1990s. After a slow incline following 1990s the 2008 election brought one
of the largest youth voting turn out percentages in recent years. (12)
What impact does voting have?

The United States is arguably the worlds largest superpower. This makes
the outcome of its elections paramount. This coming election has posed a
unique position to see what the worlds views of the candidates are. (10)
This places a sense of importance on the U.S. citizens to make their votes. In
the United States the impact is more pronounced than the rest of the world.
This election specifically there has been numerous riots pertaining to the
outcome of the election. There have been shouts of not my president,
among other things. The United States election also has a major impact on
the U.S. and world financial markets. Some sources show that with a
republican president that the market will have an upturn with the dollar
becoming stronger. (11)
How to vote in the United States.
Voting in the United States requires the following: You must be a U.S. citizen,
you have to meet your states residency requirements, you must be 18 years
old, and you have to register to vote. (12)

Other rules may apply per

each individual state but they cannot over rule the primary voting
requirements. The process of voting takes place differently in each state,
Utah for example offers absentee voting, mail in ballots, and voting places
throughout the state on Election Day.
Conclusion
The youth in the United States play a major part in the election and electoral
process. With the current information we know that those in that age group
do not participate as much when compared to the other generations. This
has an effect on the world and the United States as a whole. The more the

youth grow the larger the voting percentage should get, which in the future
will influence election pandering.

Works Cited
(7)

A History Of The Youth Vote. CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 25

Oct. 2016.
(1)

"CIRCLE New CIRCLE Estimate: 2014 Youth Turnout Was

22.2%." CIRCLE RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.


(4)

Fry, Richard. "Millennials Match Baby Boomers as Largest Generation in

U.S. Electorate, but Will They Vote?" Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 16 May
2016. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
(8)

Gerber, Alan S., and Todd Rogers. "Descriptive Social Norms and

Motivation to Vote: Everybody's Voting and so Should You." The Journal of


Politics71.1 (2009): 178-91. Web.
(6)

History.com Staff. "The 26th Amendment." History.com. A&E Television

Networks, 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

(3)

Kimberling, William C. The Electoral College. Vol. 1. Washington, DC:

National Clearinghouse on Election Administration, Federal Election


Commission, 1992.
(2)

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

(11) "Register to Vote and Confirm or Change Registration." USA.Gov.


United States Government, n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
<https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote>.
(10) Snowberg, Erik, Justin Wolfers, and Eric Zitzewitz. Partisan impacts on
the economy: evidence from prediction markets and close elections. No.
w12073. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006.
(5)

Spillane, Ashley. "The State of the Youth Vote in America." Msnbc.com.

NBC News Digital, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.


(9)

Stokes, Bruce. "World's Mind Made Up on US Presidential Race." World's

Mind Made Up On US Presidential Race. Yale, 16 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 Nov.


2016. <http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/us-prepares-elect-president-worldmay-have-mind-made>.
(12) "The 10 States Where Millennials Could Sway The Election." NPR. NPR,
n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.