Andersonian Editor Faith Middleton sat in on a conference call with Chelsea Clinton about increasing turnout among college-age voters.
In the spirit of the upcoming general presidential election, young voters have taken to social media to voice their views, through memes, videos and informal discussion with one another. The recent speculation, however, is in regards to how heavily this political fervor will weigh in at the polls. The question has been asked by media outlets such as US News and The Washington Post, with only speculation to answer: how much of the millennial generation will exercise their right to vote?
According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial generation is the largest since the baby boomer generation, making up 31 percent of the voting population. Despite this large population, only 46 percent of the millennial voting electorate cast their votes in the 2012 general election.
Because of the concerns about the low voting turnout among the millennial generation, various groups have taken measures to encourage young voters to come to the polls. National Voter Registration Day was Tuesday, Sept. 27, and social media buzzed with “#VoterRegistrationDay” tweets and encouragement to register for voting.
AU SGA, College Democrats and College Republicans on campus have collectively been providing opportunities for students to register to vote and receive applications for absentee ballots. There have been tables set up near the Marketplace during breakfast and dinner for students to register, and there will be a table set up on Friday should students wish to stop by to register or obtain an absentee ballot application.
In addition to non-bipartisan groups spurring the millennial generation into action through the polls, presidential campaigns have been as well. The young vote could be a major electoral power in this presidential election cycle, and the candidates have taken notice.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, hosted a conference call on National Voter Registration Day with student journalists from various colleges.
During the conference call, she discussed the importance of voting, gave tips on prompting peers to vote and supported her mother’s platforms by explaining the potential benefits to college students. She made a statement on “the need for real, meaningful student debt reform,” and encouraged students to vote on the basis of this issue or any others they are passionate about.
“Voting is very personal,” Clinton said. “Ask people, do they care about these issues? Do they care about criminal justice reform, about public schools? Maybe that’s something they care about.”
Clinton emphasized that in the current election cycle, there are major differences in the candidate’s platforms, and that voting matters in every election, as candidate platforms differ each cycle.
“I would argue that everything is at stake in this election. Whatever your friends care about, that will be at stake in this election, and in every election they could vote in. I just want to urge people to think about what really matters to them,” she said.
As a final prompting for voter registration, Clinton expressed her view on voter dissatisfaction: “people have to vote in order to have the right to complain later, if they are frustrated,” she said.