Forty-two days from today you will wake up to headlines announcing our next President of the United States of America. Beyond a countdown, 42 also represents the percentage of 18-24 year olds registered to vote in 2014 — the lowest figure in over forty years. Political apathy at its highest.
But Nov. 8 is about more than picking our next president. This election cycle, voters in California have the opportunity to take the future of our state into our own hands. This year’s ballot will give you the opportunity to pick our next Senator, vote on the legalization of marijuana and voice your opinion on prescription drug prices, among much more. There are 17 statewide ballot propositions, affordable housing and mass transit county initiatives, in addition to our local races.
The millennial generation has power in numbers. As of April, over 69 million millennials are eligible to vote. We choose to give up this power when we decide not to participate in the political process. It is not enough to post a Facebook status stating your displeasure with a candidate or a policy. Likes and comments don’t make a difference — votes do.
Our generation has the power to shape policy, ignite conversations and bring youth issues to the table for discussion. However, in 2014, only 19.9 of 18-29 year olds voted, a historically low number for our age group.
Our councilmember, Curren D. Price, Jr, won his 2013 election with 5,184 votes. The election was decided by less than 550 votes. As students, we are 43,000 strong. We have the power to decide who can represent us and what issues they need to be talking about.
This year, voter registration is a major focus area for our student government. USC Undergraduate Student Government is teaming up with the Unruh Insitute of Politics to roll out registration efforts from now until Oct. 24, the registration deadline. Our goal is to register at least 2,000 students and give them the power to make a difference.
Today we are kicking off voter registration with our National Voter Registration Drive at Tommy Trojan. Over the next four weeks, we will be registering students at events, in their dorms and online. As students we need to recognize the power of our collective action. That starts with registering to vote
Don’t tell me that you want change but then stay home on Election Day. If you don’t vote on Tuesday, you are waiving your right to complain on Wednesday.
It is time for our generation to step up and take action. Let’s not be the leaders of tomorrow, let’s register, vote and make a difference today.
We have four weeks to enact change. Join us by registering to vote today at bit.ly/TrojansVote, and help us spread the word.