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Why You - Yes, You! - Need to Vote This Year

It’s been two years since President Obama’s reelection, which means that midterm elections are just around the corner. But who will show up this November?

According to a poll from Harvard’s Institute of Politics, not many of us. The poll found that only 23 percent of 18-29-year-olds plan to vote in this midterm election. That might sound low, but voter turnout among all age groups is always lower in midterms than it is in general elections.

For the presidential elections, 59 percent of voters showed up. But in the midterms, two years earlier, that number was almost 20 points lower.

But back to young America! Only 1 in 4 of us showed up in the 2006 midterms and the story was the same in 2010.

Compare that to presidential years: In 2008, more than half of us went to the polls, and that year nearly 1 in 5 voters was under the age of 30.
For the 2010 election, our turnout dropped a few points–but the same happened across generations, and our votes made up an even larger share of the total votes cast in the previous cycle.

As more and more members of our generation turn 18 and become eligible to vote every year, the question is: Will we, the largest generation in American history, show that power at the polls?

Credit: Alicia Menendez, Victoria Moreno and Andrea Torres

Animation by Yoanna Barciela