As the most notorious election of all time unfolded before everyone’s eyes, Americans cannot help but wonder why the young American population did not participate. They asked questions whether or not the election results would have been different if more young Americans ages 18-30 participated more in their civic duty. Statistics show that those students in the 18-30 age group, some of whom are able to vote for the first time, are not as inclined to vote as in the past. In all of the past presidential elections, young voter turnout has staggered.
A main cause of the lack of young voters can be attributed to no mandatory civic education. According to Stanford University, civic education is defined as, “all the processes that affect people’s beliefs, commitments, capabilities, and actions as members or prospective members of communities”. Civic education is not mandatory in the United States, and this instills apathy in young voters. In fact, civic education is not even recommended in the United States. Almost as a direct result, young voter turnout is at an all time low.
Part of the problem is the lack of trust in the government. Young Americans have become incredibly opinionated, and will not support an organization that they do not believe in. According to a Harvard University study in 2014, “We saw less interest, less participation, and less trust in almost every single institution that we track”.
However, young voter turnout is not completely due to ignorance. Americans, especially young Americans, care about themselves, and their communities. They advocate for progress, and the candidates who have been representing their respective political parties have been unable to offer change. Therefore, it is inevitable that the youth will not be inclined to vote. They do not think that the federal government can do enough to tackle society’s pressing issues.
Wherever young Americans stand in their political beliefs and whether or not they trust our political system or not, the statistics still send a strong message. With the shock of this election, young Americans are urged more than ever to engage in their civic duty in the years to come.