How the Internet can Help You This Election Season
Where is the Issue?
Voting is a critical part of living in America because it allows us to directly influence the people elected for government offices. Historically, voter turnout in the U.S. has been dismal. After the 2012 election, research showed that only 57.5% of eligible voters showed up at the polls. That number has only slightly changed since the 2000 election, meaning almost half of the eligible population did not cast a vote.
In order to be considered an eligible voter in the U.S., you must be a citizen, you must meet your state's residency requirements, you must be 18 years or older, and you must register to vote before the deadline. This seems pretty simple right? Then why do we still have significantly lower voters compared to the rest of the world? A large part can be traced to the fact that voters under the age of 30 are less likely to show up at the polls than older age demographics. According the Bipartisan Policy Organization, in the 2012 election 45% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast their vote compared to the almost 67% of those between 45 and 64 and 72% of voters 65 and older. These large discrepancies could be due to the fact that millennials are not educated enough about the political atmosphere to make an informed decision. However, this is no excuse because there are multiple resources at their fingertips to help them learn more about the issues.
Using the Internet to Educate Yourself
In todays technological area, being uninformed isnt cool. Rock the Vote is a nonprofit organization that was started in 1990 to help get young voters become inspired to vote through the use of pop culture, art, technology, and music. Over the years it has garnered support from famous celebrities such as Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and Lil Jon. Rock the Vote has multiple resources including voter registration and FAQs about voting to help people understand the entire process.
Not only are there specific websites geared toward younger voters, Google in general has made a push to help voters get informed. If you google how to vote a small box shows up telling you information such as early voting information, election day information, and ID requirements. You can also visit your local city or county website to find information regarding early voting and precinct information.
Facebook, whose average user is between the ages of 20-29, has also made a push to get their members more informed. They have strategically placed a informational box about registering to vote and a message of encouragement to vote at the top of users newsfeeds. Although this seems subtle, the more a person sees their friends interacting with these tools, the more likely they are to click on the post. The internet has endless information to help you become informed about all the current issues and candidates for office. It can help making voting for the next president as easy as voting for your favorite singer on American Idol.