Students look to improve young-adult voter turnout from last election

Only 38 percent of college-age voters cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election.


Over 500 students gather to listen to the final presidential debate of 2016. Andrew Fraieli | Managing Editor

Thomas Chiles, Contributing Writer

If you have walked around campus this semester, you most likely have been approached by members of the Florida Atlantic College Democrats or College Republicans attempting to register you to vote.

These students are determined to break the stereotype of the uninterested college voter.  

The young adult demographic — individuals ranging from ages 18-24 — has had the lowest voter turnout throughout U.S. history. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2012 election saw just 38 percent of young adults cast a ballot.

“I don’t think lower voter turnout has to do with millennials not necessarily caring about the issues,” said Catherine Theriault, president of the FAU College Democrats. “I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of voter education, where students aren’t necessarily knowledgeable about ways they can vote.”  

Chairman of the FAU College Republicans Brandon Walker thinks the millennial vote is more important than college-age students realize.

“In my opinion, voter turnout among millennials in this election have been higher than any other election,” Walker said. “However, many people of our generation feel as if their opinion doesn’t matter. Aside from that, many are simply lazy and don’t feel like going to the polls. If every person aged 18-26 would get up and vote, they would ultimately decide the election.”

Student Government President Michael Cairo said that he believes young-adult voters “feel as though they aren’t being listened to, or that their vote doesn’t make a difference.”

“Most young people feel a disconnect between ourselves and Washington politicians,” Cairo said. “Since youth-voter turnout is low, politicians cater to audiences they know will consistently vote such as senior citizens and middle-aged people.”

In an effort to curb this disconnect, Student Government has launched the #MyIssues Campaign, which promotes political discussion on social media about the topics that are most important to students. Through events they both hosted and sponsored, Student Government was able to register 800 new voters.

Thomas Chiles is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thomas_iv.