Editorial | Young people in Pennsylvania, get out and vote

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

As Nov. 8 approaches, the midterm election and its importance looms large. Hot topic issues such as abortion, the climate and transgender rights are all up to whoever wins seats in our state government — and the impact of these changes will stick around for a long time.

Only 14% of young Americans say they will vote in the midterm elections, even though they’re the ones most affected by the policies put in place. This election — especially in Pennsylvania, which is a crucial swing state — will determine our futures for years to come. Now more than ever, young people need to get out and vote and exercise their democratic right to choose their representatives.

Both the gubernatorial race and the Senate race have long-term effects on our daily life in Pennsylvania — governors are in power for a minimum of four years and a maximum of eight, and senators serve at least six. Despite this pressing fact, many young people still choose not to vote. Why would you allow others to make the choice for you when election results will affect almost a decade of your life?

Additionally, there is a larger amount of older people who vote in this country — 90% of Americans aged 60 and older are registered voters. Older Americans are overly represented in our government, despite the fact that their futures aren’t as tied to the elections. Younger Americans have to worry about education, job security, child care and other factors that the government has a big hand in regulating, yet older people seem to be making these decisions for them. This is not how it should be.

Local politics and midterm elections are often ignored by younger people — however, these are some of the most important races. The bureaucracy that our local government carries out has a far greater impact in our lives than what the president does. Issues that are left up to the state such as taxation, infrastructure, abortion and pandemic response immediately affect the lives of Pennsylvanians, and most are determined by midterm and local elections.

Because Pennsylvania is a swing state, every vote really does matter. Young people often make the excuse that their votes don’t matter — that they are a drop in the bucket. This is definitely not the case, because elections such as the one between Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone in Pennsylvanian’s 18th congressional district in 2018 came down to just 627 votes. Those 627 votes were just enough to push Lamb over the edge even if the margin was razor thin.

Before this election, we urge you to check your voter registration status and find out where your polling place is located. Applications for mail-in ballots must be received by the county office by Nov. 1 at 5 p.m., and the ballots must be returned by Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. This election more than ever, we urge you to get out and vote and get your friends to as well. Our futures depend on it.