By Soukaina Aouzou and Cathy Sun
Election season just came and went in the United States, and youth turnout was disappointingly low. Young people need to be more aware of the importance of social and political activism, given the fact that their concerns are a key part in most issues and policies. But for those who were too young to vote – what could they have possibly done?
Voting is not the only way to participate in the process of elections, and there are always many other ways for youth under 18 to get involved.
Non-voting youth should start by educating themselves about candidates, the elected office they are running for, and the major issues they address in their campaigns. It is imperative to do research to understand what is at stake.
Though youth under 18 can’t vote, they can encourage others to vote by participating in voter registration drives in their communities. This can be done by planning gatherings, producing informational videos, graphics, or even going door-to-door to speak directly with voters. Non-voting youth can legally work at the polls on Election Day if they are 16 years of age as well.
Youth can also join advisory councils and commissions, or start them in their local area. These councils and commissions play an enormous role in elevating the views of young people and letting them highlight their policy priorities.
Of course, social media can always be used as a platform to express political opinions or share important articles to inform other eligible voters. At the same time, social media content is easily construed and often polarizing. It is wise to be cautious about what you read and what you write.
Another fun way is that you can use your personal skills or passions, if you are particularly good at something like music or design, is to write a song that will inspire people, or to create a meaningful image/video in support of candidates or being politically active.
These ways of getting involved can seem to have only small impacts, but it is small impacts that add up and drive impacts on a large-scale. There is no excuse not to be active and involved in elections. There is so much that all of us can do to make a difference.