Calling all millennials: Last day to register to vote
Few labels conjure a more diverse reaction than the word “millennial.” This is a generation graduating with an average $30,000 of college debt in a job market that’s leaving 40 percent of us unemployed. This is the first generation raised on computers and cell phones. This is the only generation with nearly half its cohort choosing access to the Internet over owning cars. And more than half of us are choosing to live at home to save on college costs — that’s up 10 percent from just four years ago. We’re the targets of a slew of accusations from older generations. Time Magazine calls us “informed but inactive,” The New York Times calls us “The Self(ie) Generation” and countless others have called us social media obsessed.
One thing is clear: We’re facing a set of problems that are distinctly millennial. Suffocating student loans, a crippling job market, not to mention an increasingly treacherous climate shift threatening the nature of our existence. And increasingly, many of us feel the existing powers have let us down. And yet, statistically, we believe we can change the world more than any other generation has had the audacity to.
Many issues in American politics are reaching a tipping point, often thanks to social movements indebted to our generation. Last month, a thousand young people kicked off the People’s Climate March at the youth convergence the day before the rally. In the last year, student organizers in New Jersey led the way in the fight to get big money out of politics. These issues are all gaining the sentimental momentum necessary to spark a real political debate. But if we don’t show up on Election Day, plain and simple, our elected officials will not represent us in that debate. Our social media posts won’t implement policies.
In the 2012 election season, only 41.2 percent of young voters showed up at the polls, while 71.8 percent of adults 65 and older cast their vote. The ideological divide between us is bigger than you’d think. Only 29 percent of the senior population thinks that interracial marriage is a change for the better versus 60 percent of millennials. Only 45 percent of the senior population believes the invention of the Internet has been a change for the better versus 79 percent of millennials. And these are the voters essentially deciding what our future looks like.
Rutgers is the largest school system in New Jersey, and the students here represent almost 20 percent of all college students in the state. We have a big part to play in this upcoming midterm election. Fill out the registration form online at StudentVote.org and turn it in by 4 p.m. at any of the Vote Coalition’s tables on campus or at 104 Bayard St., 5th floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and we’ll make sure your form gets turned in.
Sam Clark is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in history and political science with a minor in philosophy. He is the United States Student Association’s Empire Garden Chair. Ellie Sennett is a New Voters Project Communications intern. Nick Jermer is Board of Directors Chair of NJPIRG Student Chapters.
The New Voters Project is a national non-partisan effort to help register young people and get them to the polls on Election Day. NVP is an NJPIRG Student Chapters campaign.