The Solution to the Voter Apathy Epidemic
May 30, 2023
Unfortunately, the issue of how to get more voters in the booth for non-presidential elections remains unsolved. In Brown’s opinion, voters, especially young ones, do genuinely care about policy that affects them, but simply do not know how to effectively engage with the political system.
“It feels as though there is a cycle where we have to wait for another tragedy to happen before people can spur any change,” Elliott said. “Then the enthusiasm for change wears out quickly, nothing ends up happening, and the cycle repeats itself again. Do we need to wait for this to happen again before we collectively agree to do something about it? I wish I had the answer.”
Brown feels that better education and knowledge of how the political system works could help motivate younger people to engage instead of falling into apathy.
“We definitely need more civic lessons in school,” Brown said. “Young adults need to understand how elections impact them as they grow and become more independent. So many of these kids are going to college and are forced to take out heavy student loans, which is something that they could petition to change for the better with enough of a concerted effort.”
While it does seem like voter apathy is on the rise and few people engage with local elections anymore, Brown notes that the problem may be circular from generation to generation.
“Lots of kids will say ‘Oh, these old-schoolers, they can not understand the times now,’” Brown said. “The newer generation always feels that the world they live in now is inaccessible to older folk, when in reality they may have wisdom that could be helpful for these kids.”
Ultimately, there is not much an individual can do to fix widespread voter apathy in a swift and efficient way. It takes time to unlearn the idea that local and state elections do not matter and that there is no point in casting a vote. There is, however, one action that people can take individually to start progressing towards a more efficient democracy.
“Pay attention and stay focused on what is important,” Brown said. “Whatever side of the political coin you are on, just get out there and vote.”