We hear all our lives that voting is our voice, it’s what gives us power. Although we know this to be true what is it that stops many young people from voting?
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement reports that “16.9 million youth voters became eligible in 2016 to vote in their first presidential election; and voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election dipped to its lowest point in two decades with only about 55 percent of voting-age citizens participating.”
So, what is stopping young people from voting? One of the reasons is because they are not asked or encouraged to vote by family, friends, neighbors or even their school. They’re not taught how the government and elections work, or they may not feel as if they know enough to vote. Some are not interested, or they are too busy. Others don’t like their choices, they don’t think their vote matters, or they think the system is corrupt.
According to America.org, “Among youth 18 and 19 years old who were not registered to vote, 23% said they missed the registration deadlines, 6% said they didn’t know where or how to register.”
The Detroit Public Schools Community District, the Detroit Election Commission, and Citizen Detroit came together to combat these problems our youth are facing.
Citizen Detroit is a nonprofit organization whose goals are to help encourage and teach minorities in Detroit about politics and voting. On Jan. 31, Citizen Detroit, Detroit Public Community School District, and the Detroit Election Commission partnered together to give Cass Tech students an opportunity to do a simulated vote. And the Detroit Election Commission helped eligible students register to vote.
“We are hoping to create habits for our younger students, so that when they are of age they will go register to vote, and participate in progress,” vice principal Todd Henderson said.
He also said that “80% of our students participated in the election.”
Students said they enjoyed the event and felt that it made them more prepared to take part in actual elections in the future.
“I liked the set up of the event, it made me feel like I was really going to go vote,” senior Paige Bozeman said. “The mock election motivated me to want to vote, and it also taught me that the process is very quick and easy.”