Millennial and Gen Z generations will be the largest group of eligible voters in the 2020 election. Historically, the young adult vote has been lower than the adult vote, so the question for Super Tuesday is: will young adults and student voters in follow this trend?
The student vote has increased over the last eight years. Students voted at a higher rate in 2016 than 2012, from 45.1 % in 2012 to 48.3% in 2016, according to Institute for Democracy & Higher Education report on U.S. college and University student voting.
Some students attending OSU said they believe their vote matters, and they plan on voting in the 2020 election, while other students said they don’t believe their vote matters and do not plan on voting. When asked, both students did not know what the 2020 census was and had not heard of it.
Political Science major Grayson Schooler recently became eligible to vote. Schooler said voting is important to him, and he thinks more students and young people will vote in 2020 elections.
“I am always going to vote,” Schooler said. “I value government and the process of elections. I think it’s really important.”
On the other hand, one student attending OSU said she isn’t registered to vote and does not care about voting. Kayle Bearpaw, a psychology major, said she isn’t interested in the election.
“To me, my vote doesn’t matter because there are tons more voters out there, and a college student vote doesn’t really matter,” Bearpaw said.
Bearpaw and Schooler disagree, but they have something in common; they are both between 18 and 19 years old. They can vote legally, but they can’t buy tobacco or alcohol. One is exercising their right while the other is not.
“I think having the ability to vote is essential to the citizens of the United States,” Schooler said. “Without it, we wouldn’t be the country we are.”
When it comes to donating to political campaigns, according to Pew Research’s 5 facts about U.S. political donations, the share of Americans who say they are contributors to political campaigns has doubled since 1992. The percentage increased from 6% of Americans in 1992 to 12% of Americans in 2016.
However, the young adult and student contributions look different than the adult contributions. A total of 9% of 18-29 year olds donated money to a political campaign in 2016 compared to 12% of 30-49 year olds, 14% of 50-64 year olds and 32% of 65 and plus year olds.
Schooler and Bearpaw said they do not currently contribute to any political campaign.
“Maybe sometime down the road I will donate, but currently I am not finically stable,” Schooler said.