Do I vote? Do I vote? Do I vote?
Honestly, its a question I ask myself as every November starts to roll around and elections and campaign talk begins to really buzz around me.
Do I vote? Should I vote? Who should I vote for? Why should I vote for them? Does it really matter if I vote? How will it affect me if/what I do vote for? How will it affect others?
This is the train my thoughts usually take after that question.
Politics have never been something I have had much interest in. I know they are important, and have tried to force/ease/trick myself into caring more about them in my daily life – taking some political science courses in school, trying to watch the news more, tried to regularly stay up to date on campaigns, subscribed to the Skimm – but I just can never seem to make it stick.
This article cites that less 25% of young Americans 18-29 will not vote in the upcoming elections. I am only somewhat ashamed to admit I will probably be one of them. The past few months I’ve been way too focused on personal and academic decisions and issues, I just wouldn’t have any idea where to start on that ballot in a day’s time.
The only election I have voted in thus far was the 2012 Presidential election, and it was kind of a strange experience. I take issue with the bipartisan nature of American government to begin with, but I did educate myself a bit on most issues important to me and thought I knew what candidates seemed to fit that. But to be honest, when the day came, I felt pressured by the atmosphere and people around me to vote a certain way regardless of all that (even if it was the way I was thinking of voting anyway) and it just made me question the integrity of my personal vote.
What I am getting at is that I think a lot of young people feel a pressure to vote, but college and young adulthood is a time when you are unsure of a whole heck of a lot of things – and politics is definitely one of them. I’m not saying its a great excuse for the apathy that many writers and critics like this one focus on, but I do think that voting is a personal matter and choice, and a person should comfortable in deciding themselves, if they vote, and who or what they vote for. Feeling forced into voting on something you are unprepared to decide on, or worse, into voting a certain way, is a pressure I think a lot of young Americans, like I did on my first voting day, feel.
How do you all feel about the pressure to vote and/or vote a certain way on college campuses? How do we relieve the apathy of young voters without feeling like we are forced into something? And if you stay up to date on campaign trails or politics, how do you do it?