Reasons Why You Should Vote as a College Student

Thinking your vote won't count seriously sells yourself short

Young voters wait their turn for voting booths
Young voters in Des Moines, Iowa, wait their turn to vote during 2018 midterm elections.

Joshua Lott / Getty Images

Feel like your vote won't make a difference? Not sure if going out and voting is really worth the effort? These reasons why you should vote as a college student should give you some food for thought—and motivation.

America Is a Democracy

True, it may be a representative democracy, but your elected representatives still need to know how their constituents think in order to accurately represent them. They are counting on your vote as part of that process.

Remember Florida?

The controversy that followed the 2000 presidential election will not soon be forgotten. This election came down to a difference of just four electoral votes and Republican George W. Bush claimed victory over Democrat Al Gore despite losing the popular vote by a margin of 0.51%. After a lengthy legal battle and a historic recount of thousands of Florida ballots that revealed Bush was the winner by just 537 votes, Bush secured Florida's electors for the win and became the fourth president to have lost the popular vote. 

No One Else Votes With College Students in Mind

Many people vote while thinking of other constituencies: older adults, people without health insurance, and the like. But very few voters are focused specifically on the needs of college students. When issues like student loan rates, educational standards, and admissions policies are on the ballot, who else is better qualified to vote than those currently experiencing the implications of such initiatives?

You've Got the Numbers

Generation Z voters, or those between the ages of 18 and 23 in 2020, are a key constituency in elections. In fact, an estimated one in 10 eligible voters is from Generation Z in 2020. The power of a collective demographic can make a huge difference in elections, so get out and represent your age group.

Diversity

College-aged voters are increasingly more racially and ethnically diverse than any other constituency. According to the Brookings Institution, 44.4% of eligible voters within Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) identify as Black, Asian American, Latino or Hispanic, or another non-White race versus 33.8% of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and just 25.4% of Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).

No One Likes a Hypocrite

You're in college. You're expanding your mind, your spirit, and your life. You're challenging yourself in new and exciting ways and learning things you may not have ever considered before. But when the time comes, you're going to pass on empowering yourself by voting? Really?

Many People Fought for Your Right to Vote

No matter your race, gender, or age, your right to vote came at a price. Honor the sacrifices others made so that your voice can be heard when theirs couldn't.

Young Voters Are Underrepresented

Historically, young voters show up at the polls at a much lower rate than other age groups. Young adults comprise a large percentage of the total population but are underrepresented at the polls.

In 2012, voters between the ages of 18 and 29 made up 21.2% of the eligible population but represented only 15.4% of the voting population. In contrast, the 30 to 44 age bracket made up 24% of the eligible population and 23.1% of the voting population, and the 45 to 64 bracket made up 35.6% of the eligible population and 39.1% of the voting population. If every college student showed up to vote on Election Day, the results would more closely represent the country's actual population.

Vote for Your Future

Within the next four years, you may be getting a job, owning or renting your own housing, getting married, starting a family, paying for health care, or building a business. The policies you vote for today will have a huge influence on your life after college. Do you really want to leave those decisions up to someone else?

You're Living Life as an Adult Now

Despite conventional attitudes about college students not being in the "real world," much of your daily life involves very serious and important decisions. You manage your finances; you are taking charge of your education and career; you are doing your best, every day, to improve yourself through higher education. In essence, you are becoming an adult (if you aren't one already). Your vote, then, matters most because you are finally able to cast it. Go voice your opinions on issues, policies, candidates, and referendums. Stand up for what you believe in. Vote!

View Article Sources
  1. "Electoral College Fast Facts." History, Art & Archives. United States House of Representatives.

  2. "Federal Elections 2000." Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Federal Election Commission, June 2001.

  3. Cilluffo, Anthony, and Richard Fry. "An Early Look at the 2020 Electorate." Pew Research Center, 30 Jan. 2019.

  4. Frey, William H. "Now, More Than Half of Americans Are Millennials or Younger."

  5. File, Thom. "Young-Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential elections, 1964–2012." United States Department of Commerce Census Bureau, Apr. 2014.