OPINION: Your vote matters

(File Photo by Logan Jones | The Collegian)

I realize that the push to get millennials out to the polls this election has been overwhelming and many are sick of it. It seems like every major social media platform got involved; Facebook and even comedian Aziz Ansari tried to spread the word.

People have reason to be concerned. Civic Youth reported that only 21.5 percent of millennials voted in 2014.

So why do we shun the polls? In short, we’re not lazy in regards to the political process, we’re exhausted by it. Less than a third of young voters think politicians are doing the honorable thing by running for office compared to the two-thirds who think they aren’t doing it for the right reasons, according to The Economist’s article “Let’s set the world on fire.”

Doing something for the right reason is pretty important to us. A 2015 Millennial Impact Report said 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014. And of those who donated, only 22 percent said their donation was company-solicited, meaning 78 percent made donations on their own. Even despite our mounting student debt. Additionally, 70 percent of millennials spent at least an hour volunteering, with more than one-third volunteering up to 10 hours.

“Millennials can barely remember a time when jobs were plentiful or Washington wasn’t gridlocked,” The Economist article said. “More than a third of them live with their parents. Many have vast college debts. Small wonder they are alienated.”

In other words: Government worked for the baby boomers, not the millennials.

Here’s the thing, though. Millennials have overtaken baby boomers, a demographic known for consistent voting, as the largest living generation according to a Pew Research Center article. If we wanted to, we could make our voices heard. It’s hard to ignore us when there’s about 75 million of us.

I know feeling like one in 75 million is akin to spitting in the ocean. So let’s break it down even further.

Anyone remember the Florida recount in 2000 that decided the presidential election? It came down to 537 votes, according to Wade Payson-Denney’s CNN article “So, who really won? What the Bush v. Gore studies showed.”

But, you say, recounts don’t happen every day. That’s fair. But have you thought beyond the presidential election? Who’s running for Senate? For county commissioner? For state representative? Those are the people who could bring a real change to Kansas and that’s where your vote should be focused if you still believe your vote doesn’t count.

Don’t believe me? The 2014 Kansas gubernatorial election came down to 33,052 votes, according to Politico’s “2014 Kansas Governor Election Results” article. That’s just a little more than total enrollment at Kansas State. Point is, we as a university, as a state, as a nation and as a voter can make a difference.

So do yourself a favor. Get out and vote. You can wait until Nov. 8, or you can advance vote in the Bluemont Room on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m through Nov. 4. The final day of advance voting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 7.

Ditch the apathy and tell the politicians how you really feel.