Youth voting essential for midterm election

Kaitlin Clark, Print Editor-in-Chief

Every two years, young adults across the nation must decide whether they will sit silently on the sidelines or take a stand and make their voices heard.

As the Nov. 6 Midterm Election draws steadily nearer, newly-minted adults face a difficult decision. Current political division is strong, but the one thing all young people must do is make the choice to stand for their cause. Age does not determine the value of one’s vote, and young adults should not forget that their voice matters as much as anyone else’s in this election.

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that student and youth voting is not just important, but utterly vital in order for young people to create a country in which they want to live. As the future devisees of the earth, it is their responsibility to give their input by voting.

As younger people become eligible to vote, they make up an ever-increasing percent of the population who can, making it more important than ever for their thoughts to be heard. According to the Pew Research center, only about 22 percent of eligible millennials voted in the 2014 midterms, and while the students of Manhattan High fall under the category of post-Millennials, these statistics do not seem promising for our generation. If young voices are not heard, then the political future of our nation is in the hands of older generations who often have different interests.

Despite a lack in youth voting, our generation has been increasingly politically involved. Take, for example, the survivors of the Parkland shooting. Students such as Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky became activists following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Parkland High School and are now using their platforms to encourage youth voting and registration. Mainstream celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Hamill and Rihanna have also encouraged voting registration.

Many have wondered whether or not encouragement from these public figures will actually increase voting, but according to Time magazine, a record-breaking 800,000 people registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day. To  put that into perspective, the last time NVRD was put on for a midterm election, just under 155,000 people registered. The number of registered voters is going up, and while the results of this are not yet clear, it gives hope to the idea of a larger voter turnout.

Students at Manhattan High who are not yet of voting age can encourage their peers through their own political action. People under the age of 18 can advocate for a political campaign, attend a rally, donate to political organizations or even volunteer with a specific candidate’s campaign.

Today is the last day to register to vote in Kansas for the Nov. 6 election, so whether you register on paper or online, we call to you to make your voice heard. While PBS News Hour reported that the 2014 midterm election had the lowest overall turnout in 70 years, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters participating, we can help change that. Take a stand for what you believe in and cast your vote on Nov. 6. After all, this is your state, and your vote matters just as much as any other. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that age determines the worth of a vote.