Young Voters Encouraged to Participate in Elections - DatelineCarolina

Young Voters Encouraged to Participate in Elections

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USC College Democrats meet to discuss policies and candidates. USC College Democrats meet to discuss policies and candidates.
USC polticial science professor Robert Oldendick believes students don't think their vote makes a difference. USC polticial science professor Robert Oldendick believes students don't think their vote makes a difference.

By Alexa Angelus                                                                  Click Here to See Video Story

The millennial generation is no stranger to getting a bad wrap. "Self-centered," "technology-consumed," and "entitled" are among words used to describe them. Another phrase that can be added to the list is "least likely to vote."

The U.S. Census Bureau reports less than half of young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 will make it to the polls this election season.

"Historically students, especially at USC, but in the U.S. in general don't vote. It's one of the lowest segments of the population that don't vote. So, having students go out there and having students voice their opinion is something that's critically important," says USC College Democrat Cory Alpert.

Why are young voters less invested in politics compared to older generations?

"People don't see the importance. Well, I don't want to say that. They don't see how their vote makes a difference," says USC political science professor Robert Oldendick.

Oldendick said politics moves to the back-burner for younger people because they believe it doesn't affect them. 

"As you mature, as you get closer to 30 years old and you buy a house, get a job, and have kids, well 'What's going on in schools?' Your vote can make a difference in terms of local referendum so that you see the importance in local politics. Then, once you go out and vote that first time and get registered, then you're more likely to vote in elections that follow," he said.

But not all hope in young voters is lost. Around 50 USC students, known as the College Democrats, are striving to promote political activity and interest.

"It's really important for students to vote because our issues won't be paid attention to if we don't vote. Candidates will stop saying they want to reform the education and student loan bills," said College Democrat President Amanda Nagle.

Nagle stresses the importance of students being represented in this election.

"We know that candidates are never going to take back benefits from the elderly because they go and vote. And the candidates that say they're going to do that won't win. And so, we need to follow through. We can talk a big talk on Facebook, but if we show up to the polls, we will make a difference," Nagle said.

Making a difference is what they're trying to do. The College Democrats and College Republicans join for a voter registration drive where they go to different clubs and Greek life on USC's campus to try to get college students to vote.

Encouragement for young voters to participate in election season is seen on a national level as well. The organization Rock the Vote strives to build political power for young people with the help of endorsements from celebrities like Lil Jon, Miley Cyrus, and Kendall Jenner.

College Democrat member Morgan Simpson reflects on the importance of voting.

"I kind of thought to myself a quote by historian Howard Zen that 'You can't be neutral on a moving train,'" said Simpson.

The political train is in South Carolina where the efforts the College Democrats and College Republicans have made will be put to the test.

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