GEN Z: Gen Z and the ballot box
Aug. 4 was voting day in Leavenworth County. In recent years, I’ve seen more and more people come out and vote for their favorite candidate. On Tuesday it was busy as well.
I did see a lot of younger faces in the voting booths or tables but with this new social and political climate where President Donald Trump is on everyone’s mind, it seems a lot of younger people are coming out to voice their concerns or support.
With young Americans leading the charge against racial injustice and other concerns in the United States, many people are wondering if this is a pivotal moment where Generation Z can translate protests into votes. Gen Z is expected to count 1 out of 10 votes in the upcoming general election. Many people think that number is highly unlikely since there is a superficial level of young voters. The Hill surveyed Americans age 18-24 and found that the generation is eager to shape politics but unsure whether voting is worth the effort.
Another survey says another story. According to the 2019 State of the Student report by learning services company Chegg, 80% of college students said they intend to vote in the 2020 presidential election. The percentage is much higher than the actual 2016 college student voter turnout, which was 48.3%, according to The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), conducted by Tufts University.
A new Chegg study also reveals that 1 in 3 students say neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party reflect their political views. With the two-party system, 40% of the students believe it doesn’t work as 31% believe it works and 29% were unsure. The biggest issue on their mind was student debt.
It is not difficult to foresee that Gen Z is destined to become a driving force in upcoming elections, particularly given the energy that young people have in protests across the nation against police brutality and racial inequality.
Chloe Berg is a Leavenworth native and a student at Benedictine College.