Signal Intern Anna Connelly discusses the importance of the next generation of voters and their impact on the future.
“Let kids be kids.” It’s an overtold, oversimplified motto that dilutes the agency and passion that many young people actually possess.
This narrative is especially dangerous when applied to perceptions of the 2020 U.S. Election. According to the Pew Research Center, “younger voters traditionally turn out to vote at lower rates than their older counterparts, as turnout tends to increase with age.” However, if Gen Z is willing to break the cycle, their 23 million votes can meaningfully contribute to an improved society supported by their own voices.
Gen Z is characterized by life experiences anticipating endless choices, instant gratification, and technological crutches – but many of these experiences were established by previous generations.
This election offers Gen Z an opportunity to pay it forward, contributing to future options and societal change for the generations to come.
With this election, Gen Z-ers have the ability to influence the way that intersectional issues—such as public health, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigration—are handled for long-term societal functionality. For many of these complex issues, much needed solutions cannot be postponed any longer, and Gen Z can help facilitate action where it’s needed with their votes.
It’s crucial that Gen Z feels empowered about the influence of their votes in order to avoid complacency with complex societal problems.
As the West Coast brims with record-breaking wildfires and the Gulf Coast floods from countless high-intensity hurricanes, it’s difficult to imagine that the peak of climate change damage is yet to come. However, many Americans—in governmental and citizen roles alike—have grown remiss to the severe environmental damage that will complicate our well-being for years.
Similarly, desensitization and inattention to gun violence are also concerningly high in the United States, which calls into question ongoing policy talks about gun control. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 450 reported mass shootings in the United States in 2020 alone. Given the way the media cycle functions, it is no surprise that not every mass shooting makes the headlines—but a number this high shouldn’t be overlooked.
It is possible for passion and societal duty to overtake complacency, so voting is the perfect place to get started.
Though Gen Z-ers across the country are actively contributing to social initiatives of all kinds already, there are still plenty of individuals in this generation who don’t know where to start.
Voting can be the entry place where those who want to participate use their voice to enable social good; they just need to understand that voting now contributes to meaningful options down the line.
In support of civic engagement, Signal Group has decided to close our offices on Election Day. We encourage our staff to fulfill their civic duties by participating in our country’s democracy and to make their voices heard with their votes.