The Importance and Struggle of Voting

A country whose representation is skewed needs the newest generation to take up arms.

High seniors have an exciting role to play during 2020 in America. With a new wave of GenZ entering the political ring that is American society it begs the question of why aren’t they registering and how can seniors effectively participate in voting. 

After the 26th amendment was ratified the age for voting was lowered to 18, however, it’s been 49 years and the youth (ages 18-30) of our nation are still the most underutilized voter group. Already the United States has a laughable voter turnout, according to the Pew Research Center “Nearly 56% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election” those in the youth age group only made 15.7% of that voting population. That sucks, a lot of the people elected into power are being elected by people who will kick the bucket sooner or later.

But why such low numbers? Well, there are plenty of reasons why people don’t:

  • Voting is a lot of work: The process of registering to vote requires time and paperwork, or online it takes time to gather the information needed to vote: an address, your Social Security #, and Utah Driver License or State ID #. Which can be hard to locate if you don’t have them on hand. Or you could do the long-form which isn’t very fun to fill out.  In Utah, for first-time voters, they’ll need identification when they go to the booths. These things aren’t taught and you’ll have to research quite a bit before you find the information you’re looking for.
  • Inadequate amount of education to feel comfortable with voting. Even with US government classes, there isn’t exactly a mandatory requirement to learn about how to choose a candidate that most aligns with your values. When it comes to navigating what it means to be republican or democrat it is unknown, and it’s scary to vote for something you know nothing about.  
  • Voting isn’t encouraged: Not many candidates go after the younger demographic because of the low turnout but that’s the problem. Young adults are more likely to vote if they’re introduced to a candidate they fall in line with, or even if it is a friend spreading the word of mouth. Though who talks about registering to vote at the dinner table.
  • Getting to the voting booths is hard when you have something else on the same day. Not everyone has a car or even a way to get to the polling booths. This is especially true for younger folks, and with November 3rd landing on Tuesday we’ll school and many who are working won’t have time to get to the polls.

Voting is important, it’s important because it allows showing the opinions of the people, of the community to be understood. Even if your preferred presidential candidate isn’t elected you still can have an impact on your state government that can have an immediate impact on how your municipal government works. Have a problem with how Lehi’s roads are scarier than Lagoon’s rollercoaster? Vote for someone who wants to fix the roads at a more reasonable time frame. Have a problem with how state officials are handling COVID? Vote for someone who more closely alights with what you want to see done.

It’s a right that people have fought over, so just vote. Take some time and you’ll know that you said your piece.

So, how do you register to vote?

  1. REGISTER ONLINE. With a current Utah drivers’ license, you can easily register online here. In order to register online, your Utah driver’s license needs to have your current address, but that can easily be updated online right from the same link! NOTE: You must register online to vote at least 7 days prior to an election in order to qualify to vote in that election.
  2. MAIL IN FORM. If you don’t want to register online, you can fill out this form and mail it in.  If you don’t have a Utah driver’s license or state-issued ID, fill in the form, including the portion with the last four digits of your social security number to register! (You can leave blank the portion asking for the Utah driver’s license number.) NOTE: You must mail in paper registration forms at least 30 days in advance of an election to qualify to vote in that election.
  3. IN PERSON. You can also register in-person at the county clerks’ office in your county and several other government offices (including your local DMV, the Department of Workforce Services, and the Utah State Department of Health). Click here for a more complete list of locations where you can register to vote in person. NOTE: You must register to vote in person at least 7 days prior to an election in order to qualify to vote in that election.
  4. BY TEXT. Registering by text can take less than a minute, and you can do it right now! Simply text “VOTERISE” to 788-683.