Look Both Ways: Why should or shouldn’t Gen Z vote


Ivan Meza

From left: Aana Patel, Rinky Contractor and Raj Toolsie. Professor Sarah Marsh encouraging to students to vote this upcoming election.

By Lucy Atkinson and Philip Arduini

Why Gen Z should vote

By Lucy Atkinson

For the sake of progressive change, it is crucial Generation Z makes their way to the polls during the upcoming midterm elections Tuesday and during every election which will follow.

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with little to no memory of a time before the technology introduced in the 2000s. This technology has allowed for a swifter spread of information, and perhaps because of this Gen Z has been seeing political engagement from younger ages, according to a poll study by the Harvard Institute of Politics

This early political activity is our generation’s blessing. It has prepared us to be the nation’s next leaders through forcing our early consideration of contemporary issues.

Unfortunately, the state of the political world we’ve been left in seems to be our curse. With our nation as severely divided as it is between conservative and liberal parties, we are witnessing snail-paced legislation, frivolous arguments between the people who are meant to lead us and little significant progress. Politics seem to bring disappointment after disappointment. 

Thus, it is easy to feel hopeless in this world or worthless. According to a national survey by the Alliance for Youth Organizing, pessimism and political discontent with politics and politicians is growing among young people, particularly Gen. Z. 

These frustrating circumstances, however, are no reason for Gen Z to give up on politics. If anything, these aspects of our society that are so clearly wrong are reasons to prioritize politics even more. Despite where our feelings on them stand, the impact politics inevitably has on our future is undeniable. Thus, voting on these issues should serve as a reminder of our duty to address, reform and progress our country constantly. 

It would be pointless to discuss politics and everything which politics affects, regardless of whether they should, if discussion is where our action ends. 

Some use the fear of uninformed voters as justification for skipping the polls. However, we can look as far back as our founding fathers for clarity on this issue.

In 1787, James Madison wrote Federalist 10 in response to Robert Yates’ Brutus 01, an Anti-Federalist essay in favor of the Articles of Confederation over the Constitution. Madison argued for representative democracy, the system of election we rely on today, over a direct democracy proposed by the Anti-Federalists. In doing so, he explained how the representative system is necessary not only because our country is simply too large for a direct vote to be viable, but also so as to filter out the uneducated voter. 

Yet Madison’s system only works when everyone votes. We outvote the uninformed and elect competent officials, we render their influence into nothing. 

Even if uninformed voters were a major issue, surely the answer would be to expand access to voting education, not throw in the towel. 

When it comes to Gen. Z, these worries seem especially futile. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, Gen. Z is more likely to be a generation that is well-educated, racially and ethnically diverse, and engaged in advocacy for progressive change than previous generations. 

These hopeful statistics could not have developed at a more necessary time. The future is in our hands and in order to survive, Gen. Z must be the generation of change. 

Yes, Gen. Z, your voice does matter. Set aside the logistical worries, the invasive hopeless feelings, and embrace your vote. As voters, we are the essence of progress. 

Why Gen Z shouldn’t vote

By Philip Arduini

As simple as it sounds, it holds true that if you do not know what you are voting for, then you should not be voting at all.

With midterm elections right around the corner, many voting initiatives have sprung up to encourage young Americans to get registered to vote. Viewers of NFL broadcasts have undoubtedly seen the NFL Votes advertisement during what feels like every commercial break, in which New Orleans Saints safety, Tyrann Mathieu, tells the viewer to make their voice heard. 

These types of voting initiatives have also been done by websites with younger users like YouTube. While providing those that want to vote an easily accessible method of getting registered is a positive, not all ages should be encouraged to go out and vote.

Uneducated members of Generation Z should not be encouraged to vote. Even for those who have an interest in politics, it may be difficult to understand the policies the candidates are campaigning for. 

Another reason for a lack of education regarding candidates is that many young people simply do not care about politics. While certain policies affect the lives of Americans, a small voter turnout is partially the result of people having a lack of faith in the political system to fix important issues. According to KFF, only 55% of Illinois citizens from ages 18 to 24 voted in 2020 while 75% of citizens 65 and older voted. Not everyone feels like they have the time to be educated on political topics or candidates.

Samuel Siegel, a freshman majoring in psychology, says he isn’t planning on voting.

“You’re supposed to just vote anyway because that’s how you change the system,” Siegel said.“I know who I’m voting for is most likely not going to win because there’s bigger brackets of ages that are getting catered to. College kids, not really.”

Even some of Gen. Z that is interested in voting feels the issues that they care about are not the ones being campaigned on.

While voting is important for our country and those eligible to vote have full access to do so, anyone that is uneducated on the views of the candidates should not be encouraged to vote.