Essay themes: No recognition of young people in elections, voting age
Addressing the Youth
Today more and more young Americans are staying home when come election time. Why is it when it is time to vote for our future leaders, that the next generation feels the need to stay home? I can answer that in one sentence. Because when it comes down to politics, the young, future generation of Americans are not being recognized. Sure politicians would love for us to vote for them, but what will they do for us. This is a strong issue, and I think it should be addressed. Politicians say and do things for the older Americans because they know it is a definite vote from them. They leave us out in the cold. Why not involve us, the future generation, in their ideas for a better America. One way politicians and the media could help out is better advertising. Make Generation X realize that we ARE the future and if we want anything done about how we live and how we will live, then we must pay more attention to want goes on in our government. And what about our rights? I wonder if politicians realize that we do have the right to vote, and that maybe they should really take that into consideration for their campaign. If a politician would get in touch with his/her younger self, maybe they would have a chance to get a vote from us. If they do not have a younger self, they definitely need to find one. America is not getting older, it is getting younger. One thing is for certain, we should not lower the voting age. Eighteen is low enough to vote, actually it is the right age to vote. When we turn eighteen we have the rights granted to every American older than eighteen granted to us, too. And we can use those rights to the best of our ability and knowledge. This is the age we go out into the real world and start to make a life for ourselves. The politicians should remember what is was like when they were eighteen, and the feeling of being ignored by politicians of their time. It is not a great feeling. One law that I am troubled by, is the legal ages of what we can and cannot do. Okay, so eighteen we can legally buy cigarettes, legally leave home, vote, and young men are drafted into war. At the age of twenty-one, we are legally able to drink, and gamble. Now correct me if I am wrong, but do you see a weird kind of parallelism going on here? If young men are drafted into war and maybe they will get killed, and we are able to buy and smoke cigarettes legally at the age of eighteen, then why are we not legally able to buy or drink alcohol at the age of eighteen? I am not a real big drinker, so this law doesn't really bother me in that case. But it is the fact that we can go out and die for our country in a war, or die smoking cigarettes, but we cannot go buy or drink alcohol at eighteen. I opt to have one set age to do everything possible at that certain age. Enough of this " You can't do this or that until you reach the age....". Enough of it already! Listen to us, the one's you should be talking to. It's pretty simple to involve us in your campaign speech or campaign plan, Mr. Politician. I love to vote, and I do it every time I have the chance. I feel it is my way to pave a better road for my children and I in the future. Maybe producing more ways to get us involved in voting would be a good thing to do. It is the only thing to do. We want to hear everything every politician running for an office has to say on his/her behalf, and of course, what they will say on our, the future Americans, behalf, also.
Generation X, the future of our country, yet we do not vote. The tradition of not voting will eventually lead to the demise of our country, not the future. Politicians countrywide face the question of how to inspire young people to vote. Trouble arises because they are not the correct age to solve this problem.
Young people consider age important. Teenagers want to grow up quicker. Often, the responsibility of becoming an adult at such a young age promotes hardships, but responsibility which stems from voting includes merely reading about the candidate and casting a personal decision. Younger people tend to show a greater interest in voting which ebbs as the voting age grows closer. Teenagers form habits during high school that last a lifetime. High school students who learn to vote will theoretically continue this practice throughout their lives. A decision based on these facts would clearly prove a younger voting age beneficial.
Political debates increase education amongst the voters about the candidates. Televised debates provide an even larger and more than likely younger audience. Young people are more likely to watch television than the older working class. Better education of America's voters better our country, thus our future, by allowing education and viewpoints on certain uses to elect better officials molded to the entire public. Advertising the debates and elections would help the success of the election because it would serve as a reminder to vote.
Perhaps the best way to increase voting includes the creation of a holiday for election day. An election holiday eliminates multiple excuses for not voting. Teenagers would be extremely pleased to not attend school. A voter could no longer claim they forgot voting day. The morale of voting would change from something you have to do to getting an entire day off work or school for voting which takes about two minutes. Voting would become an appreciated privilege rather than an unwanted responsibility.
Voter registration is definitely an area that needs improvement. Schools should keep voter's registration forms on file. Schools may even host a voter's registration day in which they ask all students ages seventeen and older to register. A voter-day registration may be another way to encourage voting. Registering on voting day would ultimately register voters and immediately include them in the voting process.
People in general, but especially younger people, are well informed about the use of the Internet. Voting on the Internet would be a lot easier than driving to the local voting precinct. The numbers of voters would greatly increase due to Internet voting. One major problem in Internet voting is voter fraud. Fraud is easy to commit in person, but on the Internet fraudulent voting would be much easier. The problem with computers is that no matter how advanced a system is against fraud, there is always a hacker who can find a way around the system.
The youth of our nation no longer reads the newspaper, and only occasionally watches the news. Once a voter has registered, the government could send out a pamphlet in the mail that reminds voters of the exact dates and times of the election as well as the issues. Schools could pass these out to the voters who registered on their voter's registration day. People, especially youth, are busy and need reminders.
Elderly people in most communities feel strongly about voting. They could form committees that would go speak to area schools about the importance of voting. They could use this opportunity to register anyone who is not registered. The voting committee could arrange for local restaurants to donate food to have at the elections. Vote and have a snack. The government needs to try to make voting a more pleasant experience.
The human race tends to work better on a rewards system. The government should allow for a small amount of their income to be tax-deductible if that person votes in a determined number of elections. The government would lose minimal amounts of money and gain a healthier democracy. College aged kids would especially be delighted in receiving a tax break. Young people, especially college kids, are looking for every opportunity to save money. The reward system would help everyone.
Voting is one privilege of being an American citizen. Unfortunately, voting is often considered an inconvenience. Voters do not realize that every vote counts. Americans are too busy to remember to vote. Americans are uninterested in the government. Kids would rather watch television than read books. Young people are given more responsibilities at a younger age. Voters who do vote are uneducated about the candidates and the issues. Computers are the basis of knowledge, and to some the basis of their life. Countries around the world consider all of these characteristics bad, but would America be smart to turn these bad into good. Make voting a privilege. Prove that every vote counts. Remind people to vote. Make people a part of the government. Put programs about the candidates and the issues on television. Let "kids" vote earlier. Use computers to increase voting knowledge. Make voting the American way. Make voting the only way.
When I first wake up in the morning, I brush my teeth and wash my face. Then, I do not take a shower. I do not turn on the television. I do not go for my morning jog. I do not even make myself breakfast. Instead, I immediately exit the restroom and head for my personal computer, and check my e-mail. Ever since I first got my PC and access to the Internet, it has become such an integral part of my daily routine. This does not make me unique, however. Tens of thousands of other people across the nation can attest to performing the same routine. Why? It's addicting. The characteristic that probably makes it the most addicting is its convenience. I turned eighteen over a month ago and have yet to register to vote. It's not because I am not a civic-minded citizen or because I think that my vote does not count. On the contrary, I am, and I do. The main reason I have yet to do so is I live on my university's campus, without transportation, and it is just not convenient. I do not often venture to areas outside of campus. The biggest opportunity for me to visit places outside of this realm is when I do so by way of the Internet.
Since computers are such a key part of our lives, I believe that Internet voting would greatly increase voter participation among young people. Presently, individuals as young as four years can execute simple activities on computers with little or no need for direction. For just about every family, the children wind up knowing more about computers than their parents do, without cracking open a single owner's manual. For even those that do not own computers in their home, there are still many opportunities to have computer and Internet access, such as in the public library. There may be a fear of inaccurate results because they could be accessed publicly, but this fear can be put to rest. It would actually be quite easy to prevent constituents from voting twice by requiring them to enter some sort of identification number, such as the Social Security Number, prior to voting. Access will be denied to those with identification numbers that have already been used in that election, in the same way that e-mailboxes cannot randomly be accessed unless first provided with a correct password.
Convenience does not, however, insure a vote that is well informed. This is very important because the point of citizens electing officials is to make sure that the popular view is fairly represented whenever governmental decisions are made. We have to make sure that this happens. That task still remains. Prior to my freshman year in college, I did not go to a single music concert of any sort, and I barely went to the movies. The main reason was because I again did not have my own means of transportation. Since starting college, I have been able to expand my musical taste because the campus activities department has provided numerous on-campus concerts, ranging anywhere from punk rock to classical.
Also, our auditorium, which is a three-minute walk from my dormitory, doubles as a movie theater on weekends. This past November Tulane even hosted a forum featuring Spike Lee in the same auditorium, leading to a standing-room only venue. This proves that we do want to attend different functions and even hear speakers. We are interested in what public figures have to say. The problem is, they just are not accessible. Yes, there are conventions held in major cities. But these conventions attract mostly constituents who are already highly involved in politics. This should not, however, be the target audience because we already know that these people are going to vote, just as they have already been voting in the past. These people are going to be well informed. These people will write letters and make phone calls to their congressmen if they feel a change is necessary.
What about people like me? I am not exactly proud to say this, but I do not know how Al Gore feels on any issue, especially issues that can directly effect people in my generation, meaning it's hard for me to identify with certain agendas. I could not name more than two of his potential opponents, let alone identify their stands on issues. I do want to know more though. They say the best advice that one can give a writer is to write what you know. People write best when it's about something they know because it's something they actually care about, but this philosophy can be applied to just about every action we do. If we, the young people, know more about the world of Washington DC, we will care. If we care, the polls will reflect that. Apathy towards the government will cease to exist.
Essay themes: Impact of voting on issues relevant to young people, issues of convenience, Internet voting
Living in South Louisiana, politics is a part of our everyday life; not just during election season. Nearly every newscast has reports of a political figure on trial or one political figure accusing another of some type of wrongdoing. Many people who are old enough to vote are not even registered, and if they are, they don't take the time to cast their ballot. What can make young adults see the importance and value of making their opinion count in the voting booth?
Perhaps the real problem is awareness. The general attitude seems to be, "My vote won't count. I'm just one person." We need to make young adults realize that all of us "one person" people can stand together and make a majority. I'm not talking about a revolt or even a petition. All we need to do is go out and vote, and maybe tell a few people to do the same. If we all vote, we can make our voices heard. For example, a few years ago, the drinking age in our state was changed from 18 to 21. I will not state my opinion on this decision, but I will say that overall, most 18-20 year olds did not like this new law. They did not agree with the law, but many of them did not vote against it. Had they cast their vote, maybe the law would not have passed. They should realize that voting is their voice as an American today. If they did not speak up for themselves and their rights, who else would care enough to help?
Like any other problem, the plummeting numbers of young voters is the result of only one factor. Another problem keeping young adults from voting is time. Most people can think of a million better things to do on a Saturday than go stand in line to vote. If there was a way to make voting quicker, more young adults would vote. One way to accomplish this would be electronic voting. When we register to vote, there could be a machine that scanned our hand print. When we went to vote (at our own precinct, of course), we could have our hand read by another machine on the voting booth that would verify that we are ourselves. Then we could vote instantly, instead of having to go through the process of showing identification, signing a book, and having our name read out loud to other election workers. We are in the new millennium, a time of great technological growth. This type of technology is not science fiction anymore.
Another way to hasten voting would be Internet voting. Your voter registration number could be your password to vote, and all voting could be done over the Internet. This would probably be the fastest way to vote, considering that most people, including young adults, use the Internet daily.
The bottom line is that if voting were more convenient and voters weren't so cynical about politics, more young adults would vote. As soon as they realize that not only is it their right as an American, but their duty to themselves, young adults will vote. I realize that the only way to see progress is to do my part and make my voice heard. That is why I will register to vote as soon as I turn eighteen next December, and will be proud to make my opinion count as an American adult.