It’s important that student voters are well-informed about all issues and candidates on the ballot.
There is a certain level of responsibility that young adults earn when they become old enough to vote.
While simply showing up to polls might seem like enough, it’s important that student voters are well-informed about all issues and candidates on the ballot.
Unfortunately, a lot of new voters are not as informed as they should be when election day comes up. Ohio University College Democrats President Jenna Moore said it’s a problem she faces on campus.
“When we talk to them, they don’t know who is running for what or they don’t know who or what issues are even on the ballot,” she said.
Instead of developing their own opinions, Moore said many young voters “base their patterns off of their parents.”
It makes sense that children and parents would have similar political views because one’s upbringing does have an impact on core values and beliefs, but this does not mean that a family’s political beliefs will always line up with each other.
The danger of automatically assuming that parents and their children believe the same thing is that it’s not really their vote being placed, it’s their parents’ vote.
The issues an 18-year-old and a 50-year-old parent find important during elections will be different due to the large age difference. According to a poll from Pew Research Center, “young voters are much more likely than older voters to consider the environment when casting their ballots: 64% of 18-29 year old voters say this will be very important to their vote, compared with only about half (51 percent) of voters 50 and older.”
The environment was not the only example of a difference in priorities between age groups. In the same study, 51 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds viewed foreign policy as important to their vote compared to 70 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds.
What people view as important during elections is different across all ages, which is why young voters cannot simply rely on their parents for guidance when voting. Every individual needs to find their own voice in politics by researching the different candidates and issues come election time. They might still find some of their beliefs lining up with their parents’, but there’s also the chance they discover their own set of political values.
Simply reading or watching the news for 15 minutes a day is enough to make an impact on how informed young American voters are. Smartphones have made news much more accessible than it used to be, leaving no excuse for young adults to not take advantage of the information that is available at their fingertips.
An informed vote is more powerful than people realize and it is the responsibility of every voter to be knowledgeable on the issues of the country and the candidates running for office in order for a true Democracy to take place during Election Day.
Gabby McDaris is a freshman studying screenwriting. Email her at email@example.com