Motivating Generation Y
Political apathy has always been a problem among young voters, and maybe it’s just because I’m a young voter myself, but it seems like more of a problem today than it has ever been in the past.
Admittedly, youth voting has been on the rise in the last couple elections. In 2008, the percentage of young people voting (ages 18-24 in this case) rose to 51%, the highest turn-out since 1992. However, that is still a far cry from the above 25 voter turn-out, which was 67% in 2008.
You might be wondering why, if young voting is on the rise and young voters are stereotypically apathetic to the politics of the world around them, this is a problem. Two main reasons: 1) Voting is habit-forming 2) Voting does not necessarily reflect civic engagement
The earlier a citizen learns about voting and the voting process the more likely they will be to vote. Somewhat like learning a new language, the earlier it is introduced to you, the more likely you are to learn it well and make it a part of you.
Despite the emphasis I made on the importance of voting. Voter turn-out does not necessarily reflect civic engagement. Our teachers are always saying, “VOTE!” but if you don’t know what the issues are or anything about the candidates I don’t recommend it. An informed citizenry is the best citizenry.
The first step in solving a problem is to understand it. There are several reasons young people do not vote, some are the same reasons as their older non-voting counterparts, but some are unique as well. These young non-voters do not believe their vote will make a difference, they believe all politics is corrupt, and they believe politics is elitist and does not affect them. Of course, there are countless other contentions, but these will be these are the primary ones.
So, how can we get young people involved in the democratic process? Simply talking to young people with an open mind is the best approach. Hear their complaints and do not try to tell them what to think, but allow them to draw their own conclusions. Don’t forget to let them know that they can make a difference and their vote does count. The rest of us know it’s true, but they don’t seem to. Finally, don’t give up on them. Sometimes all they need is a little nudge in the right direction.
“Is the System Broken?” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec00/brokensystem.html>.
“Youth Voting.” CIRCLE. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.civicyouth.org/>.
15 Tips for Motivating Gen Y in the Workplace.” Anna Ivey Consulting. Savvy Grad LLC, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.annaivey.com/workplace_advice/15_tips_for_motivating_gen_y_in_the_workplace>.