Thank Youth For Voting

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Tuesday’s midterm elections resulted in a split Congress, an undesirable result for both sides.
Despite the Democrats taking back the House of Representatives, Republicans maintained control of the Senate, opening the door for inevitable gridlock. Perhaps even more significant than one swing left is what these elections mean for civic engagement and youth participation in politics.

While election tallies were not finalized in time for publication, preliminary exit polls show that young people turned out to vote in unprecedented numbers.  Given that the 2014 midterm election had the lowest ever recorded rate of young voter turnout at 19.9 percent, it is promising that a culture of apathy and disengagement has shifted toward one of action and concern.

The editorial board of The Fordham Ram commends every single young person who turned out to vote. Despite rampant problems at the polls, from jammed machines and broken scanners in New York City to long wait lines across the country, voters made their voices heard at the polls. The 2018 midterm election set the stage for the presidential election in 2020. Maintaining engagement until then will be difficult, but it is essential.
Voting reflects the work done in between elections. In other words, if you truly care about the direction of our country, it is not enough to just vote on Election Day.  It is not enough to vote for a president once every four years and to show up at midterms; it is just as important to spend time advocating for and supporting candidates during election cycles on all levels.

Beyond the actual results, there is clearly something wrong with our voting system. According to The New York Times, Democrats led in the national popular vote by 8.2 percentage points at the time of publication, but this heavy tilt was not reflected in the actual results.
Thanks to aggressive gerrymandering—including redrawn district lines in North Carolina that were permitted to remain intact despite protest—the value of some votes are being dramatically undercut. Voter suppression still continues in ways large and small. This inequality is unacceptable. Voter turnout and civic engagement grew during the 2016 presidential election, and continued through this year’s midterms.

The Ram commends the voters who attributed to this trend of increased voter participation, but acknowledges that, in order to affect true change, we must continue to do so.