News Explained: Why Young People Should Vote

Claire Guttormson and Daisy Lehman

On Tuesday November 8th United States citizens will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the midterm elections. 

For many students at Tosa West, they will be heading to the polls for the first time.

It is the right of all American citizens of at least 18 years of age to vote yet young people, aged 18 to 24,  routinely have the lowest voter turnout of all age demographics across the nation. We asked Tosa West Social Studies teacher Stephen Oliver why it is important that new voters show up for this election. This interview has been edited and formatted for clarity.


  1. It is their constitutional right to vote. 

The protection of the right to vote was extended to all citizens 18 years of age or older by the 26th amendment ratified in 1971.


2 .Otherwise they will not be represented in the electorate.


“They are part of the voting population and without their voice it gets skewed in different directions and it could be skewed older.”


  1. Important issues are on the ballot. 


“What issues are important to younger voters? They might not be addressed if they’re not voting, and the older people are voting. There are like issues, but I think younger voters are more concerned about the environment than say, older voters and so that is something that is important to them, that they need to be active with their votes” 


  1. Every vote matters.


“I think there’s an aspect of, ‘well, it doesn’t matter’. And yet we’ve now seen in last elections, just how close elections are. Biden won Wisconsin with just under 20,000. votes. Every vote counts. In fact, we even had, two years ago, an aldermen district race come down to a count off that was one ballot. Every vote does count. You can be a deciding vote. That’s a fallacy to say that my voice doesn’t matter with all these different voices. It does.”


  1. Voting is intricate to the democratic process in America. 


“Our country right now is at a point where us sitting back and not voting is going to be problematic and could really distort [the results]. I think there’s been a lot of questions about, you know, integrity of the vote. So being involved in that process is critical to show just how democracy works.”


For further research:


The Youth Vote Could be Decisive in Wisconsin 2022 Midterm Races


New Voters


Why Young People Should Vote


Opinion Will young people vote? Here’s how to make sure.


Voting and Election Laws


Past Voting Demographics-Pew Research