Children Need to be Taught the Importance of Voting

Lilly MacInnis, Photo Editor/Social Media Team

An epidemic is sweeping our country. With every passing year fewer people go out to the polls and vote. This disease wipes more and more voters away until only a select few control our government.
The path that history writes is held in the hands of presidential and midterm elections, yet only a select number of the eligible U.S. voters are controlling the future of our country. The people control some of the most influential decisions that this country makes, and the results of those decisions determine how every other decision is made for the country.
Despite this awesome power in the hands of the people, sometimes only 50 percent of people eligible to vote turn out, according to FairVote. Big decisions that will affect generations are being decided, and people just don’t show up.
Kids need to be taught from a young age that voting is important because if you instill a belief into a child at a young age, it will remain with them throughout life. Like remembering to brush your teeth, or putting on your shoes before going outside, voting on any election day should become an act we always do. Whether or not you vote shouldn’t be something you have to debate, it should be something people just do. People should argue which candidate to vote for, not whether they should vote at all.
FairVote also reports that only 60.1 percent of Americans voted in the last presidential election. Likewise, in the 2014 midterms only 36.7 percent of eligible voters cast a vote. With numbers like this, the citizens’ opinions on important issues are not being expressed properly. If people were taught at a young age about the major impact that voting has on politics then participation in important elections would likely grow. Kids should know the impact of voting and what power their vote holds.
If parents take their kids to vote with them or simply talk to them about its importance, many new voters could be made instantly. Elementary school teachers could take some time to talk to their class on election days. History teachers already tie in the roots of voting in history class on election days, but if they spent all day, instead of just one assignment and really made it exciting, kids would find voting more inspiring. All it takes is a role model to introduce the positive message of voting to a kid, and kids will not have a second thought about it.
Some people might argue that kids don’t need to know the grown up mechanics of voting, that when they become a teenager they will understand and learn what to do. However, kids are much more likely to respect and take to heart what their parents say than teenagers. In your younger years you learn the basics of things, not the fundamentals. Save your kids teenage years to develop their own opinion, but teach your kid young that whatever you vote, its important. Kids are shown to learn much faster, and retain information much better than teenagers. They learn necessary motor skills, languages, and important life skills. Since voting is so important, kids should learn about it, voting should become second nature.
Eighteen to twenty-nine year olds are the people least likely to vote, with voter turnout of just over 40 percent in the 2016 election, according to the United States Elections Project. This number is way too low for this age group. Everyone’s vote is important, so the people whose lives will be the longest affected by their vote should have the highest turnout. If teenagers were taught as children that they should vote, if they were taught it was an important, exciting experience, then voter turnout would be much higher.
Voting should be important to everyone, no matter what side you’re on. Democrat or Republican, you should always go vote because we are lucky as a people to help control the fate of our own country. Many countries don’t let their people vote, or their elections are very controlled and rigged. The United States has designed a fair system and has upheld this right since the birth of our country. We shouldn’t just throw away all our founding fathers’ hard work every election.
Many people have given up on voting, thinking their vote doesn’t really count, but that’s not the case. Every vote counts for what you’re fighting for. Get out there, vote, and teach your kids the importance of it. The future of the country rests in your hands.