Humberto Mendez Prince/Staff Writer
The political climate in 2020 has been surrounded by controversy attributed by the mediocre performance politicians have accustomed us to. Insensible policies regarding a global pandemic paired with management failures in state policies across the nation, are perhaps the eye-opener young voters needed in order to realize their vote is more influential than they think.
So, if you are one of those people who are still on the fence regarding that ballot box, here’s what you should consider.
It goes without saying that both parties are to blame for delayed responses and outright nonsensical solutions to the COVID-19 virus. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve gotten to witness the consequences of bad management at the state level from government officials, regardless of their party affiliations. Local governments have failed to contain COVID-19, and in many cases, have assisted in propagating the virus amongst the population through their careless policies.
One notable example is the Democratic state of New York, which has reported almost 450,000 positive cases of coronavirus and 32,000 deaths. A major contributor of the monumental death toll was the miscommunication of new CDC guidelines to the citizens and medical staff of New York. As a consequence, Governor Cuomo’s return-to-work policies acted as the catalyst that ultimately led to the number of infected people to increase astronomically.
At the same time, the Republican state of Florida is reaching 666,000 cases and 13,000 deaths which can be largely attributed to Governor DeSantis’ reopening policy in a last-ditch effort to save the economy. These actions proved to be extremely counterproductive for the state as positive COVID-19 cases quickly rocketed after the reopening policy was released, resulting in the state reclosing its business just a few weeks later.
One big takeaway from this example is that if we push for more educated electorates, more competent government officials can be elected in the future. However, this is not the case nowadays since millions of eligible voters choose to simply not take part in the elections.
A study conducted by the Knight Foundation tackled the issue of voter apathy in the U.S and it found that Florida was one of states with the highest numbers of non-voters. One major reason cited being the voter’s lack of interest in politics.
The study ranked responses from 800 non-voters regarding their interest in politics ranked from 1 to 10, with “1” meaning no real interest in politics, and “10” meaning real interest in politics. In the case of Florida, it averaged an interest score of 6.6 in comparison to the overall score of the United States which was 7.2. The same study also found that young non-voters between the ages of 18 and 24 held similar disinterest in politics resulting in their lack of participation in local and national elections.
Florida’s consideration as a “swing state” highlights the incredible influence the state holds in the national political sphere. This power, combined with the state’s considerable population of young apathetic voters, can have disastrous consequences for future generations. If this upcoming generation of voters remains uninterested in their local and state politics this means the chances of electing incapable government officials will continue to increase in the future.
After all, the fact that the U.S is struggling to maintain a positive voting culture now stems from the inappropriate education given to younger generations, where the importance of their vote is invalidated by older generations’ apathetic mentality.
An example of this can be seen with the last presidential election where voter apathy was recorded at a whopping 43% across the United States. Statistics from the United States Election Project indicated that about 100 million eligible voters didn’t cast their vote in the last presidential election, one main reason being their disapproval of both candidates.
This ultimately drove a big portion of the nation to simply not vote at the time of the election and in this political climate we cannot afford to waste millions of votes because people simply don’t like the candidates. That’s why it’s imperative for the electorate to cast their ballots during the primaries, as a single vote can constitute a huge influence on the future of this nation.
It all starts in our local communities, if we cultivate a culture of voting participation we can pass it on to future generations and in that way make sure to elect more capable government officials.
The invisible threat of a virus was enough of a challenge to prove to us how our government has been mismanaged. Hence, involving ourselves in our local governments is vital for a future containing better social and economic policies in our communities.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Featured image from Jernej Furman on Flickr.