By Natalie Goldwasser (‘22)
Vote! Vote! Vote! The word vibrates inside our eardrums, it’s on replay 24/7. When listening to the radio, watching TV, scrolling through Instagram, or viewing a Youtube video, voting advertisements are always there, standing their ground no matter how many times you try to delete them. “Are you registered to vote?” “Register to Vote,” “Midterms November 6.”
The media is the perfect way to reach young voters at a time when they’re needed. Young voters are citizens who have acquired voting rights in the last decade, generally people ages 18-29.
Although they possess what is almost universally considered a sacred right, many choose not to exercise it, and this refusal seems to follow a common theme. Josh Miller (‘21) says, “One vote isn’t gonna make a difference.” He stands with the citizens who believe that they are just one out of many and that the boxes they check on election day won’t have a great effect on their country.
On the other hand, there are people who have a slightly different belief. Yosi Galicot (‘22) asserts, “In swing states, yes [your vote matters], but in some places not really, like in California that is [often] democratic.” Galicot represents the side of the argument that believes that voter impact depends on the state where people vote.
“If citizens don’t vote then who will vote?” asks Daniel Acks (‘19). “We need people to vote.” Those in Daniel’s corner of the argument believe that if all citizens say that their votes don’t matter, and don’t choose candidates on election day, there will be no voters–so, every vote does make a difference.
Another way that our political interests in our society have been able to get young voters to show up at their polling place is by using people who impact society. Young voters will follow their favorite celebrities before their parents, government officials, or friends. Taylor Swift took advantage of that fact and used her influence when she spoke out.
On October 7, Taylor Swift posted on Instagram, telling people to register to vote. The 112 million people who follow Taylor Swift saw her post. It fell into the hands of social media, and her followers shared it with other friends, and other friends, and so on. The whole U.S.A. found out about Taylor Swift’s belief in the importance of voting. Only 24 hours after everyone read Swift’s words, 65,000 young voters registered to vote. In comparison, the whole month of August saw 56,669 young voters register to vote. Swift made a huge impact, and she didn’t stop there.
Knowing that she was being heard by millions of people, she took another chance. After winning another prize in the 2018 American Music Awards, she thanked her fans. She ended by saying, “I just want to make a mention of the fact that this award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people and you know what else is voted on by the people? The midterm on November 6. Get out and vote, and I love you guys.”
United States citizens have the power to vote when they turn 18. If politicians or other citizens cannot persuade people to vote, then maybe Taylor Swift will. The country needs more young voters to keep democracy alive. Hopefully, when SDJA students turn 18 they will all Vote! Vote! Vote!