GraceNotes: Silencing a rising generation’s voice

For years, many have complained—by showcasing data after chart after polls—that the younger generations are not as politically active as older generations. However, it seems that when young adults finally head to polling places to make their voices heard, the group that is most hurt by this newly rising voting group goes back on their word. 

According to the New York Times, while the rate of students voting in the 2018 midterm elections doubled from the 2014 midterms, Republican leaders are trying to deter the generally Democratic voting bloc from participating in elections. 

For example, Austin Community College, which set up temporary early voting sites to encourage students to vote, accounted for almost 14,000 student votes. However, the Texas Legislature closed down polling places that did not remain open for the entirety of the 12-day early voting period, including those of Austin Community College. In Wisconsin, Republicans put up additional barriers after they allowed student IDs for voting identification, including requiring a proof of enrollment and a two year expiration date for voting IDs while student IDs lasted four years. 

It is completely backwards that younger generations are expected to fulfill their civic duty, and then face obstruction by the Republicans solely because liberal college students would skew the vote in the Democrats’ favor. Voting shouldn’t be about party lines. Regardless of whether or not they will vote for what you believe in, everybody—both Democrats and Republicans—should be encouraging people to do their civic responsibilities. 

Some may justify this by saying that college students are not as knowledgeable and only superficially vote for Democratic sides. However, that would be the same thing as saying that older generations cannot keep up with the times and are not making informed choices that respond to the current political and social climate. 

In a complete turnaround from the previous political apathy that they once showed, younger generations are displaying an increasing interest in voting, and instead of discouraging the nation’s future from speaking out, those in power should be celebrating their sudden inspiration to vote and make a change and applauding the future leaders of politics.

It’s only natural that younger generations are speaking up. With a Republican-dominated federal government, many of the issues that younger generations rally and fight for is ignored, including gun control and climate change. With prominent voices such as Parkland teens leading the #NeverAgain movement and Greta Thunberg leading climate activists, it is clear that the younger generations are not satisfied with the status quo and have decided to speak up for themselves.

To deny them the right to speak their thoughts through ballots would be like taking away their freedom to express themselves and make their voices heard in a democracy. 

If the Republicans really just don’t want the younger generations to vote, then they should acknowledge that their current legislatures and goals warrant such powerful response from them.