More than half of American adults plan to cast ballots in November, but only a third of people ages 18 to 29 say they will. Here, 12 young adults on why they probably won’t vote.
Samantha | Age 22 | Old Bridge, New Jersey | Last Voted: 2016
2016 was such a disillusioning experience. Going into the election, I was so proud to be in this country at this moment, so proud to be voting for Hillary Clinton. I had my Clinton sweatshirt on all day. I was on Twitter telling people that if they didn’t vote they were dead to me — like the whole thing. Watching the results come in, it was just disheartening. My faith in the whole system was crushed pretty quickly. That was the first general election I could vote in, too.
Those actual full-progressive candidates make me optimistic. But there’s still a lot of powerful people, especially in the Democratic Party, that are centrists, and that’s just a little frustrating when it comes time to stand up to this president and the policies he’s trying to pass. Like the Kavanaugh thing — I get that they’re the minority and that was an uphill battle, but I just feel like there wasn’t a big enough fight put up to that, and I think there continues to not be a big enough fight.
Full disclosure: I have a ballot sitting at home. In 2016, I voted absentee and I just marked off “Send me a mail-in ballot for every election.” I don’t really get that argument that it’s really hard. Like, it’s not that hard.
I think there’s a way to be an informed nonvoter. I’d rather have an informed nonvoter than an uninformed voter going in and making a choice they don’t understand. You’re voting for a politician going into office, and I’m seeing less change there than I am through grassroots organizing. Since Trump’s been elected, those grassroots groups have really been doing great, great work. So I guess it’s that: where you’re seeing the impact.
Reese | Age 23 | Hudson, Ohio | Has Never Voted
In my senior year in high school, I was probably borderline socialist. Though I don’t really think I understood what a socialist was. I was blatantly liberal and didn’t bother to check myself. My friend gave me The Prince, by Machiavelli. I read that, and it provided a certain nuance that I didn’t have. From there, I read more, and I realized that a lot of things I’d thought before were wrong. I got into Hellenism. I read Cicero, Livy. Later on, I got into Voltaire. Then, in college, my field is American politics and political science. I prefer constitutional law and Alexander Hamilton.
There are things that I’m aware of where I’m certain I’m right. But for most things, although I feel strongly, it’s very probable that there’s some aspect of this that I don’t understand. Somebody provides a new avenue of thought, and it changes the way I think about something. I never felt certain enough to vote. But I’m a political-science student, and the talk of voting is really big in my circle of friends. In 2016, I almost did. Of course, I’m not a big fan of Trump, but I didn’t know if Trump was going to be a flash in the pan or — I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to help something that might end up being wrong…