The Cause of Voter Apathy
May 30, 2023
This difference could be explained by some voting-age young people feeling a sense of voting apathy. This could manifest as a line of thinking where one believes it is not worth the time or energy to vote when the system is biased from the start. Senior Joshua Romauld understands why people feel this way.
“People are very passionate about issues like abortion and gun control,” Romauld said. “They care about what happens nationally and how that affects them. Maybe the majority of voters do not understand that the small decisions local boards and governments make have a dramatic influence on their daily lives.”
Elliot believes that the disconnection between the two is at least partially caused by a lack of understanding of how important state and local governments are to the lives of citizens.
“People want to make their voices heard, but they do not know how,” Elliot said. “Most of the time, they believe that things like the City Council are set-in-stone or insignificant in terms of changing policy. They do not understand just how much they can influence these institutions to start social change.”
Elliot’s perception of the significance of local elections mirrors that of many professionals in political science. According to the Harvard Political Review, the quality-of-life of everyday citizens is impacted far more by local leaders than by federal bureaucrats. As an example, while citizens may have little individual control over issues like national gun control or taxation rates, they do have extraordinary influence over whether their local leaders improve the infrastructure of local roadways or repair contaminated water supply systems. Citizens hold much greater personal power when it comes to selecting their local leaders, but as the Review notes, the media largely focuses on national issues rather than local ones, which drives the focus away from issues closer to home.