The 2018 General Election saw unprecedented voter turnout across the board, including a significant jump in the number of younger people (age 44 or below) voting. Is this upward trend of youthful engagement going to continue? Will it increase overall participation in the democratic process from voters of all ages?
It certainly is a positive shift, and one that could prove instrumental to address important community issues. Youth today live in a society driven by technology, and because of this, they readily seek out knowledge about social justice issues and environmental concerns such as affordable housing, blight, flooding, and loss of greenspace. I believe that this appetite for information presents an opportunity to increase voter engagement across all ages if we can successfully communicate that Pennsylvania municipalities have the power to address these societal concerns.
The growth in voter turnout in 2018, and recognizing that the 2019 General Election is likely to be much lower, makes me curious as to what motivates people to vote. Is it because of a civic obligation? Is it a feeling of disenfranchisement? Is it a desire to affect change?
Wanting to explore the concept more, I asked LGA Staff why they vote. Not surprising (I mean, seriously, government is our middle name) everyone was adamant about the importance of voting:
Recently I heard a speaker proclaim that politics is the avenue to change. While understanding the political game is important, it is only by voting that you will affect positive change. In Pennsylvania, your vote in the municipal elections is one of the most important decisions you will make. This year, when you vote, talk to others and encourage them to do the same.