Responding to the 12 Young People Who Say They Probably Won’t Vote

Oh, no. This won't do. Listen up...

We’re often told the children will save us. But if we’re honest, we know they aren’t all up to the task.

That was illustrated in a recent piece by New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, where 12 young people went on record as being among the two-thirds of people ages 18 to 29 who are unlikely to vote, and attempted to explain themselves. It…Didn’t go well. A brief dip into the comments show their reasons struck many as entitled, shallow, selfish, and lazy.

Luckily, there are plenty from the same age group who put their slacker counterparts to shame.

A new project, launched by actress and activist Yara Shahidi’s Eighteenx18, a get out the vote effort focused on first-time and younger voters, is the perfect response to this kind of apathy.

Let’s take them one by one.

Samantha, 22 (Last voted in 2016)

Samantha reports feeling disillusioned because Hillary Clinton, a centrist Democrat didn’t become our next president, no matter how many consecutive days she wore her “I’m With Her” gear and gave ultimatums to her friends, and because not enough “full progressive” Democrats are running. Plus, the Democrats didn’t put up a big enough fight up against Kavanaugh for her liking, even though all but one voted against his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

So, her answer is to put up so little fight she might not even cast a ballot. So much for, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Feeling disillusioned is natural, and feeling depressed by what is going on in our country, and indeed the world, likewise. It can make every day feel like a struggle. But that isn’t a good enough excuse to give up on democracy. In fact, the reality is this election could impact the access to care for those among us who are most vulnerable, both when it comes to mental and physical health issues.

Lauren Brocious survived a suicide attempt, and she knows how lucky she was to be able to seek treatment. She also wants you to vote on November 6.

Reese, 23 (Has never voted)

Reese “got woke” from reading Machiavelli’s The Prince when he was apparently still too formative to handle the harsh reality that, yes, power corrupts.

From there, it was a look back to early Greek and Roman philosophy and political theory, before dipping a toe into the Enlightenment, followed by the curious decision to become a political science major. His worldview, by his own admission, appears to be why act when you might choose wrong, and beget results that prove flawed.

Here’s something else to overthink while you’re not bothering to participate in the democratic process, Reese: Inaction also begets results, which are always flawed. Because everything is flawed. Especially the entropy that collects around inaction.

Since you clearly like to overanalyze, let’s keep it simple. The Republicans want to dismantle healthcare, going after, in part, those with pre-existing conditions. Inability to access healthcare is an obvious net negative.

Let me let someone with an even clearer voice explain.

Jordan Reeves, take it away.

Tim, 27 (Has never voted)

Tim has ADHD, and struggles with anxiety when it comes to filling out forms and mailing things. Plus, he doesn’t like it when he has to delay gratification. He doesn’t find waiting for a payoff to be “intrinsically motivational.”

He also doesn’t like it when people get all judgey and tell him it’s his responsibility to vote, when he’d rather have you say something that gets him all excited about it, even though he already admitted that’s unlikely.

Anxiety and ADHD are real, and they do make life more difficult. That said, we all have our struggles, and we all must overcome them the best we can to be part of the solution and not the problem. And if you think that’s too harsh, too bad. The world will only get meaner and harsher the longer Republicans have full control of all branches of government.

Let’s see how someone who survived a school shooting, and thus has every reason in the world to feel anxious and overwhelmed, is responding to this historical moment.

Parkland survivor Jaclyn Corin, let him hear you.

Megan, 29 (Last voted in 2014)

Megan moves around a lot, and bemoans the difficulty of voting via absentee ballot. Especially since she doesn’t own a printer or stamps.

Here are some places you can find printers you can use for free or for a nominal fee: Libraries, community centers, colleges, local copy stores, a friend, family member, or neighbor’s house.

Here are some places you can get stamps: The post office, some banks and credit unions, and big box stores like Walmart. Or you can order them online through USPS.com.

You’ve somehow managed to find the time and energy to move around the country, and the funds to live in San Francisco. You can do this too, the moment you start caring.

Speaking of people who do care enough to not be lazy, let’s hear from Lauren Hogg, another Parkland shooting survivor who is not only encouraging people vote, but who, as part of the March For Our Lives movement, has helped organize huge demonstrations calling for stronger gun control laws, with some real results.

If they can do that, Megan, surely you can figure out how to print something off, put it in an envelope, and affix a stamp.

Please tell her, and all the rest, Lauren.

Drew, 21 (Last voted in 2016)

Drew, another poli-sci major (but, why, though?!) is fed up with old politicians not caring enough about younger people. His solution? Take his ball and go home.

“Why should I vote for a party that doesn’t really do anything for me as a voter?” he asks.

Why would the party do anything for you as a non-voter? Politicians cater to the voting base they rely on to get, and stay, in office. If they know older people vote at higher rates than younger people, and they do, the incentive is to listen to them more and to you less. It’s basic electoral math.

So vote. Or, failing that, at least change your major.

Let’s hear from someone who could easily make the argument that she is not catered to by politicians: Nyasha Magocha, a black immigrant woman with something to say to you.

Laura, 21 (Has never voted)

Laura is another one who doesn’t see the need in bothering to take the time out of her busy day to participate in democracy. Plus, she says she doesn’t know much about politics, but has started to educate herself, via CNN and Fox News, so she can be prepared to vote in 2020.

That’s…Something?

Meet someone who doesn’t think there’s time to wait around: Daud Mumin, who wants people to know his religion and skin color don’t make him a threat, and who wants you to vote.

Aaron, 25 (Last voted in 2016)

Aaron doesn’t think the Democrats are doing enough on climate change, and worries about the latest report showing we have even less time to act than previously realized. That’s a reasonable conclusion. What isn’t is what he follows it up by, which is to give up completely.

Well, Aaron, you want to know why you should vote for a party that isn’t doing enough on the important issue of climate change? For one thing, because not enough people who care about the issue are holding politicians accountable by voting along those lines, and also because while you should care about that issue, it’s not the only one facing real people in our nation right now.

For instance, imagine being separated from your family because of the Trump administration’s regressive policies on immigration. You’d probably still care about global warming, sure, but you’d also be doing everything you could to be reunited with them, right? Or at the very least get out and cast a ballot, which is pretty much the least you can do.

Emad Shahnoushi, let Aaron know what that’s like, will you, please?

Anna, 21 (Has never voted)

Anna is another one who finds the topsy-turvy world of mailing things daunting, and wishes someone else could handle the difficult task of printing forms and “dealing” with the post office. And if they won’t, why should she? Other than it being her responsibility, that is.

Honestly, Anna, I don’t know what to say to you.

So let’s let Deja Foxx try, who is a first generation, and has lived through homelessness, and yet managed to go on to successfully enroll in Columbia University.

Thomas, 28 (Last voted this year, New York Democratic Primary)

Thomas thinks voting sucks up too much time and energy away from pickets that he admits go nowhere, but where you can at least meet your neighbor and then call them up next time some similar injustice occurs, where you can once again march around and hope to affect the change you admit is unlikely to come about through those means alone.

But also, he thinks voting is far too quick and easy, making it anti-climactic.

Thomas’ thinking is not the most inspired.

So, let us check in on someone who is both inspired and inspiring:Tay Anderson, a community organizer, and candidate for the Denver School Board. He has an important reminder about other activists who felt fighting for the right to vote was well worth not only the time and energy, but the beatings and imprisonment they faced for simply wanting to ensure people of all races had equal access to the ballot.

Actor and musician Tim Johnson Jr shares a similar message.

Jocelyn, 27 (Last voted in 2016)

Jocelyn noted it was easier for her to get her medical marijuana card than to register to vote, because, again, stamps.

Seriously, who knew you could take down an entire generation simply by asking them to affix proper postage?

There are a lot of things in this world that should scare you as a young person, but, children, please! Obtaining stamps is not one of them.

Give me your address, Jocelyn, and I will personally mail you a month’s supply worth of stamps. Don’t worry, I know how, I was born in the ’80s.

Also, listen to Nurah Abdulhaqq, who wants you to think outside yourself for a moment.

Maria, 26 (Last voted 2012)

Maria doesn’t see why she should take time out of her day to vote, either, if it’s not something she’s “extremely passionate about,” but also would like you to believe she cares about issues like immigration and women’s healthcare.

Just, you know, not enough to give it a few hours of one day in November. After all, she’s got calls to answer.

Maria, meet Jazmin Kay, who has seen her community devastated by the opioid crisis, and is making her voice heard for those who are no longer here to exercise that right, and who would no doubt love to have another day, even if part of it was spent standing in line (for a damned good reason, no less).

Nathan, 28 (Last voted in 2016)

Nathan wishes his candidate information came in a bulleted Insta story, or with a Snapchat filter, and apparently doesn’t realize he isn’t being forced to never watch the news or read an article to completion, and that his failure to be able to do so will be a detriment to his future whether or not he can get it together enough to vote. Which, spoilers, it’s looking unlikely he will.

Since Nathan doesn’t like to read, let’s provide him with a video instead, on the off-chance he made it this far.

Nathan, this is Sam Craig. He is:

– 16 years-old.

– Is the state director of Students Demand Action in Colorado.

– Is concerned about homophobia and the damage it does to real lives.

– Wants you to vote.

There isn’t a filter on this video, so try not to let your eyes glaze over immediately. Oh, and here’s an article giving you all the info you’ll need to vote on Tuesday, which you’ll almost certainly get too overwhelmed to read because it has paragraphs. But in case you get inspired.

Now, go vote! All of you! No more lame excuses.

Then after you’re done, find other ways you can pitch in and help create and shape the country you want to see. Then vote again next time around.

Welcome to adulthood.


Click the graphic above to learn about LGBTQ candidates running for office nationwide.

Journalist, editor, and artist.