Examining Low Young Voter Turnout

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One of our most, and many would argue, the most valuable rights as citizens of a democracy is our right to vote. It gives us a voice in the direction our elected representatives steer our country. Unfortunately, historically young voters are underrepresented due to their low voting turnout. This came as a shock to me being a young voter myself. Growing up in California I was excited about getting the chance to vote, to have a voice as it were. However, this is clearly not the case for all potential young voters.
The Problem Young voter turnout has historically been disproportionately lower than all other voting groups. In California alone, as indicated in the California Civic Engagement Project, conducted by UC Davis during the 2012
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With those that attended college being twice as more likely to vote (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement).
Political Polarization There’s a great deal of debate on whether the issue of increased political polarization of our elected representatives has had a positive or negative effect on voter turnout, there’s however little debate on whether the political process has become more polarized. While this is an issue for voter turnout of all ages, I’m in a unique position to speak on it as a young voter. As I mentioned earlier growing up I was excited at the chance to help shape public policy with my vote. However, as the years went on the increasingly polarized atmosphere of my representatives has had a draining effect on me. I don’t tune in to the TV broadcasts or read the newspaper with the same gusto anymore. The constant name calling and gridlock has had a profoundly negative effect on my enthusiasm to partake civic activity. Being a young voter I have dwelt on this quite a bit, and come to the conclusion that this has discouraged me from taking part in the political process. Apparently that’s a common symptom of increased political polarization on the electorate, as noted by several political scientists. For example, in a paper published in American Journal of Political Science Dr. John Rogowski notes that “My main finding is that, rather than stimulate political
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