Millennial voters: Don’t count them in, don’t count them out, either

Instagram selfie of young women wearing hoodie with Hilary Clinton wearing NYC baseball cap
Millennial voter use #IGuesImWithHer to show forced solidarity with Clinton (Jordan Gaines/MEDILL)

By Jordan Gaines

In the final leg of the race to the White House all hands are on deck to get millennials to the polls. Young adults, in fact,  have been blamed for the race being such a close call.

This generation is being haunted by a traditionally low voter turnout with only 45 percent of 18 to 29 year olds voting in the 2012 election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even in the 2008 presidential election, when millennials were credited for helping get Obama in the Oval Office, only 50 percent of those eligible to vote did so.

Now, with the youngest members of the generation being of voting age and the number of eligible millennial voters being almost equal to that of baby boomers, eyes are on the young voters who were drawn to the primary race for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) to show up to the polls.

Despite social media efforts, pithy messages from comedian Aziz Ansari, and even social media messages from millennials themselves encouraging their generation to vote, young voters  still aren’t expected to cast many ballots.

Laziness won’t keep them from the polls, but a refusal to settle will.

For 24-year-old Chicago resident Charielle Awan, visiting other countries made her realize how little this election and its candidates affirm her humanity.

“The treatment that I got outside of America as a black American was really an eye-opener for me to how flawed this country is,” Awan said.

Issues of civil and human rights are priorities for young voters, especially young African-American voters, who had the highest percentage of voter turnout of all young voters in 2008.

David Cahn, co-author of  “When Millennials Rule: The Reshaping of America” told U.S. News & World Report, “millennials are this generation that is rejecting partisanship on both sides of the aisle and is uniting at the political center.”

Awan added: “I don’t think Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, especially not Donald Trump, are good candidates to run this country right now.“

With the creation of movements such as Black Lives Matter, many black millennials, for example,  no longer wish to work with what they have.

For example, the whole “black people died so you can vote” argument isn’t working with many black young adults: A person posting as Bee Kapri on Facebook wrote: Black people fought so you had an OPTION to vote. They were murdered because this is America.”

Photo at top: Young voter uses #IGuessImWithHer to show reluctant solidarity with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Jordan Gaines/MEDILL)