Column: Our votes shape the future; it's time we start casting them.

Political engagement is essential to our generation’s future.

This summer, the news has been bombarded with the 2016 presidential election. It seems that there has been little other news besides what the candidates are doing and what they have said. Many people, especially relatively new voters like college students, may be overwhelmed by political talk. If you miss one story or debate, you tend to miss a lot of important information. This discourages us from keeping up with politics at all, and we are often deterred from voting.

According to Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation, roughly 18 to 33 years old now, is much less interested in politics compared to older generations. However, our generation tends to receive more political news from social media. Eighty-eight percent of Millennials polled receive their news from online sources. It would only make sense that we vote more, but over half of Millennials surveyed by the National Conference on Citizenship are not very engaged in politics.

This election is the time to turn those statistics around. Currently, the polls are dominated by the Baby Boomer generation, around 50 to 68 years old now. Therefore, many politicians focus on problems that older generations care more about. Although issues such as Social Security and Medicare need to be addressed, there are more pressing concerns that the U.S. needs to concentrate on. Politicians aren’t focusing on what Millennials are talking about, though, because they know they won’t get the votes to be elected.

Many of the problems that face our country need to be solved by the younger generation. In three surveys reported by The Atlantic, Millennials are found to be more progressive, supportive of same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, and worried over high student debt. By voting in any election, we have the chance to change some of our country’s problems that other generations do not know how to fix. These changes can only come about if Millennials vote, though.

The Internet can be a big asset to our generation to get more involved in politics. Social media websites have become a hub for political activity. Young voters are unintentionally exposed to more news than ever before, meaning that as a generation, we are very educated on political topics, despite our apparent disinterest.

One of the problems that come with voting is that it is very difficult to start the voting process each election period. From registering to vote through the government to finding your state’s primary election date, voting for one candidate (who may not even win) might seem too overwhelming. The process was made to be confusing to dissuade inexperienced and impatient voters from taking part in the elections. However, it pays off to finally be able to vote for the next president. There is tremendous pride and knowledge that come with casting a vote and participating in our country’s government.

The Millennial generation is the future of the country, but we are not fully embracing our newer role in the government. Voting is a vital action that must be taken to change some of our country’s problems. This next election period is the perfect time to begin.

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