Voter Apathy — Part I

An article in New York Magazine’s Intelligencer caught my eye yesterday.  The headline?

12 Young People on Why They Probably Won’t Vote

Say what???  In the wake of the Parkland school shooting last February, I thought young people were energized, I thought they were determined to make their voices heard, to make a difference.  According to the article, however, more than half of American adults plan to cast ballots in November, but only a third of people ages 18 to 29 say they will. What happened?  I had to know, so I read the article.  Here are some of the highlights …

  • 2016 was such a disillusioning experience. Going into the election, I was so proud to be in this country at this moment, so proud to be voting for Hillary Clinton. I had my Clinton sweatshirt on all day. I was on Twitter telling people that if they didn’t vote they were dead to me — like the whole thing. Watching the results come in, it was just disheartening. My faith in the whole system was crushed pretty quickly.

  • I think there’s a way to be an informed nonvoter. I’d rather have an informed nonvoter than an uninformed voter going in and making a choice they don’t understand.

  • There are things that I’m aware of where I’m certain I’m right. But for most things, although I feel strongly, it’s very probable that there’s some aspect of this that I don’t understand. Somebody provides a new avenue of thought, and it changes the way I think about something. I never felt certain enough to vote.

  • I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it. I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety. I don’t remember seeing voter-registration drives, no. I’ve seen a lot more the past two years. I’m sure there must have been stuff. I just don’t remember it.

  • I guess I still thought, Okay, my vote is largely symbolic in this election because I’m in Texas. Even if Texas went blue, I’m pretty sure my vote wouldn’t matter anyway. Austin is very liberal, but it’s very gerrymandered.

  • I have ADHD, and it makes it hard for me to do certain tasks where the payoff is far off in the future or abstract. I don’t find it intrinsically motivational.

  • I rent and move around quite a bit, and when I try to get absentee ballots, they need me to print out a form and mail it to them no more than 30 days before the election but also no less than seven days before the election. Typically, I check way before that time, then forget to check again, or just say “F*** it” because I don’t own a printer or stamps anyway.

  • I feel like the Democratic Party doesn’t really stand for the things I believe in anymore. Why should I vote for a party that doesn’t really do anything for me as a voter? Millennials don’t vote because a lot of politicians are appealing to older voters. We deserve politicians that are willing to do stuff for our future instead of catering to people who will not be here for our future. I’m a poli-sci major …

  • I look at it this way: That report just came out the other day about global warming, talking about how we have 12 years, until 2030, for this radical change unlike the world has ever seen. And The Hill newspaper just put out that article about how the DNC does not plan on making climate change a big part of their platform, even still. I just do not understand why I would vote for a party that doesn’t care about me in any way. They can say, “Sure, we’ll lower student interest rates.” Well, I don’t give a shit about student interest rates if I’m not going to live past 13 more years on this planet.

  • Most people my age have zero need to go to the post office and may have never stepped into one before. Honestly, if someone had the forms printed for me and was willing to deal with the post office, I’d be much more inclined to vote.

  • I vote when I feel like I have to. But I mostly consider it something that sucks a lot of people’s time and energy away from actually building power with the people around them.

  • For a while, I thought it was an immoral act to vote. It means that we’re giving our approval to a system that I totally do not want to validate.

  • My parents are of the generation where they actually watch the news, and they know about candidates via the news. Where my generation, the millennial generation, is getting all their news from social media like Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, and that is not always the best. Reading things through social media is snippets, and it’s not the whole details on everything, you know? It’s a wild theory, but setting voting up so that it’s all on social media, putting all that information in just an Instagram Story, in a Snapchat filter or whatever — bulleted-out, easy-to-read, digestible content — would encourage me to vote.

As you might guess, the article left me torn between a sense of intense fury, seriously wanting to go smack a young person, and one of “we are doomed, folks … these are that ‘next generation’ we’ve been counting so heavily on!”  Who’s to blame here?  Perhaps we all are, but offhand I am angry with parents who have not bothered to instill a sense of responsibility into these young people, and our schools who somewhere along the line decided it was more important to teach them to program a computer than to teach them how our government works and how very important each and every vote is. vote-3

19 thoughts on “Voter Apathy — Part I

  1. I wasn’t going to comment on something I’ve known all along re: younger ‘voters’ and their attitude. Quote:”I had my Clinton sweatshirt on all day. I was on Twitter telling people that if they didn’t vote they were dead to me — like the whole thing.” Wow, what a commitment, like a whole day even wearing a sweatshirt with a slogan, then going on Twitter… just like, wow, what dedication to a cause, huh? When we ran campaigns we drained our bank accounts; we dragged our kids in apple boxes to meetings; we stood in all weather on street corners, or marched or did the door-to-door canvassing. All or nothing, even when we knew our chances of winning were slim to none. If we weren’t the candidate, we made sure our candidates were the real thing, not rich people but ordinary people, teachers, farmers, gravel truck operators, someone retired from a unionized blue collar job who knew the score.
    Welcome to the words and acts of the entitled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I am with you on this … the voices of these young people were those of the entitled, the spoiled, the ones who’ve never had to fight for anything. When I think of the elections in the 1960s and how much it mattered to everyone, how hard we all worked to make it happen … and then listen to the whining of the spoiled youngsters … I want to throw something.


  2. Jill, the greatest voting problem in America, by far, is too few voting. Yet, one of the political parties counts on and facilitates lower turnout. It is the same party that has done little to dissuade foreign influence on our elections, which never stopped after the 2016 election. In fact, we may have seen a couple of their advocates in our comment sections. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This doesn’t surprise me, though I share your disappointment. I have written again and again about the “millenials” and their general lack of concern for others and the world at large. The Parkland shooting you mention got their attention briefly, but they lack an attention span longer than a gnat’s and they are back at their electronic toys. I have said it before and I will say it again: education. We must somehow get education back on track and try to help these people learn to read, figure, write, speak, and, yes, think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it’s like everything else … every other group, be it republicans, Christians, women … we can’t judge them all by a few. I sometimes have a hard time remembering that. But some of the excuses these young people made just blew my mind! You are so right, though … we are failing our young people by not teaching them how our government works, how we can effect change (sometimes), and how important it is for us all to take responsibility. We DO need to get our education system back on track, but I don’t look for it to happen under Trump/DeVos!


  4. It’s not just the young people though. I vote in the “all purpose room” (formerly called the activities room) in my own building. We all should be voting down there, but there’s a group of people standing the required distance from the door having their own discussion about how they have made it so far without EVER voting, and they aren’t about to begin now. The discussion is usually accompanied by comments on how the country is run and what should be done to make it all right.
    I once made a futile effort to show them how wrong it is to never vote because only the people who vote have the right to complain. I sincerely believe this –, if you don’t spend the few minutes required to cast your vote you have forfeited the right to complain about anything the REAL voters have put in place. I voted and will do so again next Tuesday unless I’m lying unconscious on the floor — not all that far fetched considering the number of times I fall each day. But I feel that if you don’t vote you have given up your voice and you should take your face out of mine and stop trying to tell me how you think th e country should be run and how I just threw my vote away. At least I cast a vote to throw away! …..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I second everything you say here! It amazes me that people think a few minutes every other year is too much trouble, and yet they criticize every move the politicians make. Rather like so many other things these days … they want the privilege, but not the responsibility that accompanies it.

      I am so sorry … I know I owe you an email and I do promise to get it written in the next day or so. Stop that falling!!! Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know how busy you are and since I have almost nothing but time on my hands (plus the 3 quilts in progress for Christmas, the 5 or maybe it’s 7 pillows, 2 tote bags {did I say I have time on my hands?}). To be honest, I’m not online much lately, except of course for brief visits to answer our friends notes — and would you believe he knew what burgoo is? And I’m still not getting my laundry done!

        Seriously, my problem with these people is that they feel the need to stand just outside the legal line and spout out remarks at people going in to vote, freely spout their opinions in the dumb and dumber category of redneck..stupidity while floating their.opinion that they actually have a right to do so just because their ancestors established citizenship before they had to larrrrrrrrrr [[[[


        I’m gonna[ get o8

        v u=+\\

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m guessing you mean David … and I must admit, then, that he is more advanced than I am, for I did not know what ‘burgoo’ was and had to Google it!!! It was sounding okay until they said that the alternate name was “roadkill soup” and then I quietly backed myself out of Google and decided that I knew enough of burgoo!

          I’m with you … I am so sick of hearing the ignorance of people who think they know much, but prove that they are indeed ignorant, that I am ready to start throwing things. I truly fear that with all the shenanigans of the GOP in the past week or two, the mid-terms could fail to put a democratic majority in the House, and if that be the case, I am frankly afraid for the future of this nation. Thus, I’m finding ‘balance’ rather difficult these days and will be so glad when the election has come and gone. Hang in there and stop falling!!! Hugs ‘n love! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Probably should wait a day or two before answering this due to present depression and intense anger with one of my brats. Maube when it’s over the one who spends more time on politics than family will have a mimute or a second
            Sorryl Be back in a few das when better moodl

            Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I do hope that, but I’m doubtful. Trump has been working non-stop to rally the republicans, to convince them that if they lose their majority in the House, their world will come to a screeching halt. But I haven’t seen the same energy on a national level from the democrats. Sure, there is Beto in Texas and Gillum in Florida, and a few others that have put their heart and soul into it, but nationally, the democrats simply aren’t as vociferous.

      You are the second person to mention spoilt ballots, and quite honestly I don’t know the answer. Most voting in the U.S. is done electronically, which is intended to do away with the potential corruption of somebody simply tossing a ballot in the counting process. But there are still a number of districts that use paper ballots, and it hadn’t entered my mind how the spoilt ballots are handled, but I will see what I can find out. And, we’ve seen how the voting machines can be, and have been, compromised, so that isn’t really a soothing thought either.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Trump has been working non-stop to rally the republicans

        This is what we’re up against. He’s in a position to stand in front of a few hundred individuals, sound off against his opponents, and get publicity for doing it. The rest of us can do little more than vote ourselves, perhaps financially contribute, and/or make phone calls.

        Liked by 1 person

        • True … and he has the added advantage that his followers cling like Gladwrap to his every word and he doesn’t even have to pretend to tell the truth … just get them riled and they will vote for him.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jill,
    When I first read the title of this post, and before I read the body, I thought about discussions we have had in the past, and that in the upcoming election voter turnout might be greater than usual, but vote count might be down. I think there are going to be a lot of intentionally disenfranchised voters, as well as a greater number of spoiled Democrat ballots. Do they count and report spoiled ballots in the US. They don’t anymore in Canada, at least they are not reported where I live. So that makes it very easy for ballot-counters to throw away or destroy ballots they should be counting. It is not beyond Trump supporters to do this, nor is it beyond Trump to tell them to do this. So I expect there will be a lot of cheating going on.
    But if millenials are questioning voting, things could be a mot more dire than I thought. Republican millenials will be out there. Democratic millenials may not. For all the reasons given above, and a lot more.
    The one thing I am missing in this election is a concerted effort by Democratic candidates to offer a unified front. If I missed this, sobeit, but I think I paid enough attention to see it if it wss there–I did not see it. Being a non-voter myself, I understand where some of the above comments come from. But to not vote because you do not know how to walk into a post office, that is beyond me. Good luck with combating that kind of apathy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Y’know … I really don’t know the answer to that question. So much of voting in the U.S. is done electronically by machine, that the issue of spoilt ballots is rarely heard. I will do some checking today to see what I can find out, for David asked the same question, and I think it is a valid one. We have the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) that is supposed to oversee the vote and make sure there are no shenanigans, but …

      You are quite correct in that there has not been a heavily unified front among democrats. Within certain states, like Gillum for Governour in Florida, or Beto O’Rourke challenging Ted Cruz in Texas, yes there is massive energy and a united front, but on the national level, not so much.

      The excuses for not voting … they floor me! Dammit … my life, everybody in this country’s lives, are on the line here, and some young twenty-something is too lazy to go buy a fribbin’ stamp??? Argh!!! No, there isn’t much way to combat that sort of apathy, for it is born of selfishness, laziness and greed. Sigh.


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