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Young Voters - Noah Lombardo Prof K Hill POLS 209-904 8...

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Noah Lombardo Prof. K. Hill POLS 209-904 8 September 2008 Young Voters and the Presidential Election In a 1969 speech, President Richard Nixon coined a term to describe the large number of American citizens who did not voice their opinions in public. The term mainly referred to those who did not participate in public protests, voice their opinion through the media, or join the popular counterculture. Nixon referred to these people as the “silent majority.” Back then, the silent majority was the group of people who did not demonstrate their views in public, but still voted, and ultimately controlled the election. Today, the silent majority of America is the large group of citizens who do not show up at the polls on Election Day. More specifically, the trend of low voter turnout among citizens age eighteen to thirty has defined young non-voters as the silent majority of young adults. Over the past two decades, young voter turnout has fluctuated, yet it remains low compared to other age groups. The question Americans should be asking themselves is why turnout is so low among the youngest group of voters. Low turnout among young voters only produces detrimental results for the election and the general population. We as American citizens have the responsibility to attempt to increase young voter turnout by educating the masses about American politics and encouraging voting through schools and the media. The United States was founded upon a democratic system of government. As Abraham Lincoln once said, our nation employs a “government of the people, by the
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people, and for the people.” Therefore, American citizens are those who determine our heads of state. Failing to vote is essentially antithetical to the principle of democracy, which is why low voter turnout among young adults should be taken seriously. More importantly, young voters will one day be older voters, and if a trend in low voter turnout continues into the future, then fewer Americans will vote in upcoming elections, thereby slowly diminishing democracy as a whole. John Fetto wrote in a 1999 American Demographics article that a mere thirty-two percent of registered voters between ages eighteen and twenty-four voted in the 1996 election (Fetto 46). Fetto’s article, “Down for
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