The Truth About Millennial Voters

I’m an 18 to35 year old adult that is registered to vote. I’m part of that key voting bloc that Pew Research center has aptly titled the Millennial voters having come of age in the New Millennium.

With only two days left until the election many of us aren’t sure how things stand.  Since the major party candidates announced in 2015 so much has changed, and so have we.

Our views about democracy in America and what we envision about the future of our nation are different now. For some this might mean a call to join the Clinton campaign to elect the first female president or to support Trump for a myriad of sometimes bizarre if not any racist reasons, and others are reevaluating the two party system as a whole and struggling to see where their voice fits in.

But what do we really think, what do the statistics say, and how can we make our voice matter on that fateful day in November and beyond?

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When the campaigns started the major parties didn’t know what to do to market to younger voters. Because since 2012 they’d all been told that we are an incoherent voting bloc with no cohesive political views, at least that’s what Vox told the world. The parties just knew they wanted us to vote for their candidates. Young voter turnout in presidential elections has historically been around fifty percent or lower according to a Pew Research Center Social Trends Report from 2014:

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The millennial generation started voting in 2004 and that’s when youth voter turn-out rose four percent in one cycle, peaking in 2008 with a 16% increase. Those numbers are a big deal, especially when electing the next leader of the free world is on the line. Unfortunately in the marketing haze and candidate kerfuffle of this cycle’s interminably long campaigns  there has been limited public data released on our political persuasions. No wonder why no one is sure how to cater their PR to gain our votes. At least in May 2016 the Pew Research Center published the most recent findings about us and guess what? Nearly seventy percent of us are registered and eligible to vote.

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Even greater news is that we are actually turning up to vote, but not in the numbers like we did in 2012 and not for Clinton or Trump. In fact, a report by CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, found that we voted in the overwhelmingly for Senator Sanders.  By which, I mean we ‘felt the Bern’ in greater numbers than Trump or Clinton voters combined. That is amazing, but our candidate has lost and many of us now feel lost.

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What the heck do we do? We’re registered and supposedly have voting power but the candidate the majority of us supported won’t be on the ballot. Since we’re as unsure as you probably are, we decided to ask our friends via social media.  We asked about how they felt about the campaigns, the candidates, what do they think about third party candidates, if they attended any political events so far and if those affected their view, and of course will they vote and if so for whom. All 20 were disappointed with the 2016 campaigns and election results thus far.

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Beyond being disappointed, their views on democracy changed greatly since 2012 and even 2015. They all voiced concerns about the “imperialistic capitalist two-party system” calling it “rigid and rigged against the masses to benefit the few” and these are the more timid responds. Ouch, poor DNC and GOP, we have unfriended and blocked you.

The respondents that tended to fall into the group calling for socialism, complete reform, or gutting the entire system had similar voting plan. They are going to vote for: ‘Jill Stein’, ‘not voting’, or ‘Trump’ adding things like “let’s burn this whole system down and start over. If anyone can bankrupt the US political system, Trump can.” That is a bit dark yet we feel you, though we don’t quite see how voting for someone that wants to ban our immigrant and Muslim friends is helping things.

The remaining respondents plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. Californians, Georgians, New Yorkers alike are saying, “I’d be thrilled to have a woman become president, I think it’s about time we did.” to the less enthused, “I would vote for Clinton, only to supersede Trump, who is the greater of two evils.” to the super- excited “Hillary Clinton has the experience and intelligence to help move our county forward.”

Several people surveyed have volunteered on her campaigns or have been active Democratic Party members, but two who have such backgrounds are now planning to vote for Jill Stein and one is not planning to vote at all.

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We’re officially still a confused voting bloc and now a little bit depressed. We may have to take a online quiz to decide. The unaffiliated, anonymous user site Isidewith told us about tons of great candidates and their views. It had us take the obnoxiously long quiz to help us decide which was the right one for us. Even if this might cause a proverbial split-ticket at least we have a clearer view of whom to vote for and why.

If Millennials are agreed upon anything as a unit, it is that we want to be involved in politics and desire candidates worthy of our votes. All of the respondents have gone to a political rally, house party, or a ‘meet-the-candidate’ event. The vast majority of them have volunteered on one or more political campaigns at federal, state, and local levels. Several people who were surveyed have joined ‘Our Revolution’. Bernie Sander’s NGO to motivate people to stay politically involved and even run for office. The NGO officially launched August 24th continues to reach its audience online.

Online– that has been the key to the limited but game changing success of Bernie Sanders and hopefully the key to continuing to keep us involved in US politics.  We’re ready to harness our political power and look forward to great congressional, state, and local candidates championing our views of democracy. The Hill is still calling us unicorns to be caught. And we’re totally into civic engagement and pro-unicorn (duh). But mass-media trying to catch us, and convince us to vote for a certain candidate in the ‘rigid two-party system’? A system that 20 smart Millennials just told us “doesn’t sit well” with them? We’ll have to pass. We’re engaged with media 24/7 online and in real life. We know when we’re being played by the PR gods and goddesses, and we’re ready to make our own informed decisions for the rest of this endless political cycle and the ones to follow

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Political changes don’t happen overnight, but we know that if we raise our voices, vote, volunteer, and run for office we can chip away at the monolith that is our government and chisel it into one that supports the future we want for ourselves and future generations.

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How to Share the Voting Experience with Kids

Are there future voters in your home? As a former political campaign worker I feel passionate about bringing the thrill of election season to everyone. I’ve even been known to give babies ‘I voted stickers’ when they come out of the booth attached to their mom or dad!

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My first election experience was for Jeanne Shaheen when she first ran and was elected Governor of New Hampshire. Her campaign promise was to bring public kindergarten to the state. Being a recently kindergarten graduate I knew that private school was expensive so I cheered for her at all the local rallies and was thrilled when she won. From that moment on I was bitten with a political bug. I worked on political campaigns a volunteer, intern, staff member, manager, and consultant right through 2014.

Prior to joining the Obama for American 2012 campaign I was an NH campaign manager.  My spark for political campaigns was dwindling. Thankfully another manager in the building reignited my passion. He invited me to meet Ms. Shaheen again! Unfortunately that night I was busy with another event. But it was a thrill to know that a candidate I supported when I was 5 years old was now running for re-election to the US Senate!

Although I currently am not working in politics, I still enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with other. I love it when children want to be politically activity and excited about the process. It might not turn them into a political consultants, staff members, or candidates, but it will help them understand more about how the US government works.

The year after my first candidate, (Jeanne Shaheen) became my Governor, I told my Brownie Troop all about it. I learned that Girl Scouts is not a place for partisan politics (if you are sharing this with your little ones, now is a good moment to explain why these conversations even make some children hot under the collar). Thankfully, everyone was getting as excited for the next election as I was (yippee!) My troop’s leaders helped us find ways to get involved.

We decided to give out Get Out The Vote (GOTV) reminder flyers the local Board of Elections had. We sat at the grocery store to sell our fall products (in the 1990s that was just boring calendars) and also gave the flyers to everyone that passed by. I like to think it helped because the voter turnout in our area was high for a small local race.

You know how I know that?

We went to the polling place and thanked people for voting and helped give out “I voted” stickers, showed people the entrance, and entertained people in line.

It was fun!

I was lucky because my mom let me go in the booth, stand on her toes, and  fill in all the bubbles she pointed too! Then when my dad came to get me, he went inside and let me do it for his ballot too!

Yeah, voting rocks. Now that I’ve lived in many states and outside the US I know that there are many ways and different days to vote. You can vote early, vote in your car, vote by mail, get a free ride to a polling place if you don’t have a vehicle, and even vote late (international absentee ballots can be counted through November 30th this year), oh and you can still go to the booth and vote if your traditional but I know you are cool like me and want to vote by mail, right?

Ok so are you ready?

Attached are all the voting materials so they can get the whole vote by mail/absentee experience or vote in a booth (on in a car if you/they so desire).  Just add your pen and an standard envelope. I’m sorry to say this is my copy so you cannot actually mail it but I want you to have the same feel I had today with I got my envelope ready.

This file includes:

  • a real vote by mail envelope covers (print in Envelope DL to fit a standard size envelope)
  • a real vote by mail envelope seal.
  • voter registrations
  • voter IDs
  • polling official badge
  • polling station signs
  • ‘I voted’ stickers
  • 4 different age levels of classroom curricula
  • 2016 Presidential Election Voting kits for preschool-high school
  • “Election 2016 Guide for Young People” ebook

TO RECEIVE YOUR INSTANT DOWNLOAD LINK SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL BELOW.

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Once you open the confirmation email to confirm your address follow the link to open your free instant download of Future Voters Kits.

Please review everything and choose the best method for your little one to experience the first thrills of voting.  Please note none of the files attached are my own. These files are official voting materials produced by FVAP and free educational materials (not included in those two links) produced by nonprofits as well as other bloggers, homeschoolers, parents, and educators.

In addition to using the materials available above, parents, teachers, and youth volunteers can have the children make campaign posters, you can make poll stations with adults or older children as officials, have voting booth, ballot box, mailbox, or a US Embassy or Military base voting center to help the children cast their votes like their adult friends and family members.

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If you have decided to attend rallies, volunteer with candidates or parties, or get involved with a non-partisan GOTV campaign with your children I would love to know about it. Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below to tell me about your experiences with your children and elections.

For more information or ideas go to:
kidsvotingusa.org
pbskids.org/youchoose
noorkids.com/writethepresident

Happy voting everyone! Have a great election day!!!

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