Day 15 of #selfeducate: Voter Turnout

We are all hearing a lot about the primaries and I am sure many of us are baffled by the number of votes that Donald Trump is accruing. The people I work for are constantly asking me how and why so many people are voting for him. Do these numbers truly represent the political views of the American population? It seems crazy that such a large portion of Americans believe that Donald Trump is the best candidate. So how many people are actually voting?

Approximately 55% of the voting age population in the US voted in the 2012 presidential election. That is only a little more than half! That is an incredibly low percentage. For comparison, Germany’s voter percentage is 86%. More women in the US vote than men, but the difference is only around 5%.

Let us take a look at the age breakdown of people who are actually voting.

Less than half of people between the ages of 18 and 24 are voting. Someone please explain to me how this is possible. This is our future, people! We have an incredible opportunity to have a say in what the next 4 years of our lives will look like and more than half of us cannot be bothered to fill in a few circles on a piece of paper.

There are also a lot of Asian and Hispanic people not voting. This does not surprise me considering an unabashedly racist white man will most likely be the Republican nominee. This does, however, make me concerned because the voter population does not currently reflect the incredible diversity of our country.

I looked specifically at the statistics in California to see how they compare to the national statistics. Somewhere around 70% of California’s registered voters actually voted in the presidential election. Considering that around 80% of the voting age population in California was registered to vote, we had around 56% of the voting age population voting in the election.

Many people claim that they do not vote because they do not have time to go to the polls. This is ridiculous. You do not have to physically show up at a polling station in your county in order to vote! If you think you won’t be able to make it to the booths, get an absentee ballot. I have been registered as an absentee voter ever since I turned 18. This is an incredibly convenient option. You can register online and then your ballot will come in the mail. You can literally vote from home. Just a few days ago I received my ballot for the California primaries via email. Much wow! Such easy!

I just want to remind everyone that we are extremely fortunate to be able to vote. Voting is a right for US citizens but it is not a right in many other countries. Syrians have been engaged in a brutal civil war for the last 5 years in attempt to overthrow a dictatorship and instate a system in which the voices of the people will be heard, respected, and honored. It is your responsibility to be proactive and at least attempt to make the changes that you want to see, no matter how disheartened you are with the current political situation.

Check your privilege. Vote because your opinions matter and your future matters.