The Youth Vote is Here to Stay Young

Today's guest post is by Chris Piedmont, a Communications major at the College of Charleston, class of'14.

YouthVotingYoung America has spoken and we want four more years of President Barack Obama.

On October 10, I made an appeal to my fellow young Americans between the ages of 18-29 to turn off Jersey Shore for a few hours and wake up. Wake up and take control of our future. Too long had we let other generations think that we were an apathetic generation and that we’d rather sit at home watching reruns of Gossip Girl than to go to the polls. To these critics and pundits, 2008 was a fluke and, surely, we wouldn’t show up in the same large numbers again in 2012. There was no history to be made this time; no message of change; no message of hope.

Well, these pundits were right. We didn’t show up in the same numbers as ’08. This time, we brought more of our friends, younger siblings, and those disenchanted after the magic of ’08 wore off and we increased our percentage of the electorate from 18% to 19%. Our share of the electorate was greater than that of one of the most reliable voting blocks, voters over the age of 65 who only made up 17%.

In the days leading up to election my peers, finally, tuned in. We watched the debates. Followed the final weeks of the campaigns. Compared and contrasted candidates views. We made our decisions. This election was truly too important to sit out.

Early exit polls have shown that about half of those eligible to vote in our demographic went to the polls last Tuesday. From my vantage point, this sounds fairly accurate. Of my friends, about half of us voted and the other half didn’t because they either felt as though their vote didn’t matter because we weren’t in a swing state or they didn’t like either of the candidates. Clearly, there is more work to be done to engage young voters but I am happy to say that progress has been made.

On November 6th, we woke up, marched to the polls, made our voices heard, and silenced our critics. The youth vote is here to stay; let the politicians woo away.

3 thoughts on “The Youth Vote is Here to Stay Young

  1. Thanks, Professor Martin! It has been an honor to work on campaigns this cycle as well as with the Bully Pulpit Series on its many fantastic events. I’m truly honored that this was inspiring to you. While this was my first presidential election, I did get the opportunity to vote for the first time in 2010 in the congressional and gubernatorial elections. I look forward to continuing to be involved in many more campaigns in the future and if more people speak out, hopefully, we can continue to increase citizen engagement in our society.

  2. Thanks for letting your voice be heard, Chris. More importantly, thanks for your efforts throughout the campaign season to encourage your peers to be more engaged. Young people like you provide hope for older people like me. I voted in 1972, the first presidential race after I turned 18, and I have voted in every one since then. That’s eleven Presidential elections in all. I hope to vote in many more. Your words and the example you set are inspiring. Thanks for your commitment. You are a great ambassador for The College of Charleston.
    Tom Martin, Executive-in-Residence, The College of Charleston