Editorial | Gen Z showed up to the polls, now listen to our concerns


Alyssa Carnevali | Staff Photographer

A close up of a Pennsylvania voter registration form.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Gen Z voters — those between the ages of 18-25 — showed up to vote in record numbers during this year’s midterm elections. Young voter turnout is estimated to be at its second-highest since the 1990s, and many Democrats have thanked Gen Z for showing up and voting blue. In Pittsburgh, record student turnout at Pitt contributed to Pennsylvania going blue.

While Gen Z voters understood the stakes of this election and turned out to vote, it’s not always because we believe in the message of the Democrats. Many young voters know that voting Democrat is an option most aligned with our interests, but it is far from the best option. Many politicians set lofty goals trying to reach Gen Z votes, but rarely follow through on their promises once elected. 

And we shouldn’t have to settle, especially since we’re helping them win elections. 

Issues like gun violence — specifically mass shootings — have become a reality for Gen Z, more than other generations. In fact, over the last 20 years there’s been 16 of the 20 most deadly mass shootings. Despite many Democrats saying that they will fight for gun control, much of their legislation has fallen short, which feels discouraging.

When surveyed, people aged 13 to 25 listed gun violence as their biggest concern. Politicians should know the power of Gen Z and make our issues a priority. How many more mass shootings is it going to take for politicians to take gun violence seriously?

Other issues, such as climate change and abortion, that will impact our futures more than anyone else are often pushed to the side. Pitt students found these issues salient, which is the reason why many voted for Democrats Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman. Shapiro and Fetterman must fight for abortion to be codified in Pennsylvania, and join just four states and Washington, D.C.

Additionally, many prominent Democrats have rejected environmental policies such as the Green New Deal or have had weak stances on fracking. Fetterman made confusing statements about his stance on fracking during a midterm debate, causing many younger voters — including Pitt students — to question his commitment to protecting the environment. 

Some Republicans want to raise the voting age to prevent young people from voting since they tend to vote Democratic. But on the other side of the aisle, Democrats shouldn’t take advantage of the younger generations’ vote — they need to listen to what policies and change we actually want, because we’ll soon run the government. Florida elected its first Gen Z politician this midterm, and he definitely won’t be the last.

Gen Z has a powerful voice. We have grown up in a tumultuous political and social climate as technology, violence and political unrest have become increasingly prevalent. We have a pivotal position in history and politicians need to actually make changes for us rather than us having to change for them.