The most fundamental right in any democracy is voting, however, young people fail to exercise this invaluable resource more than almost any other voting demographic. This is increasingly true with less educated and minority youth, who tend to be frequently disillusioned with the political process. However, despite what many may believe, both local and federal elections are essentially important to every young person’s life. At the state and local level, there is much at stake for young people, especially those in California, when it comes to educational policy. Tuition is rising exponentially, student loan debt is now the leading type of debt in the country, and public education is in danger of being cut out of existence. Federally, the decisions our leaders make on issues such as entitlement spending and national debt has a disproportionate impact on Americans of this generation.
Additionally, students can make more of an impact than they think in the process, as the youth are frequently the difference maker in elections, with young adults consisting of about a quarter of the eligible voting population. In elections where students and young people participate in large numbers, such as the 2008 and 2012 elections, they were a formidable voting bloc that was crucial to electing a President or passing statewide reforms.
However, some legislators throughout the country have made it increasingly difficult for young people to access this fundamental right to vote, especially. According to Collegestats, when it comes to voter ID and registration laws, close to 75 percent of the youth are unaware of what exactly the law requires them to do, and in some states student IDs cannot even be used to identify voters.
Additionally, there are other proposed policies which would galvanize not only the youth vote like same day voter registration and extending the hours of polling locations, which have both proven to be a huge booster of the youth vote in particular. Same day voter registration legislation was recently passed in California, a huge boost not only for the Democratic Party, but also all young people throughout the state.