Although some might argue that issues on the ballot for the upcoming state midterm election affect young adults more than anyone else, it still appears to be a challenge to get them to go out and vote.
The effort to get younger voters to the polls has been apparent on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok.
Generation Z is widely accepted to be made up of those born between the late 1990s, and the early 2010s, a demographic more likely to experience the effects of elected officials and proposals passed. Still, a large number of them are either not informed about what is on the ballot, or not planning on participating in the election.
20-year-old Ricky Braman, a student at MSU, is registered to vote, but could not think of one elected official or proposal included on the ballot.
“I guess I’m just not that interested, but my mom encouraged me to register to vote,” Braman said.
This isn’t his first time voting either. Braman previously recalls voting in the 2020 presidential election.
“I knew that the presidential election was important to be a part of, especially the last one,” Braman said.
Most young people his age know that presidential elections occur every four years because of media attention, but it is harder to get them to participate in smaller elections because they feel it is not as important.
“You don’t hear as many controversial debates or negative opinions about these elections like you do for the presidential one,” Braman said.
Instagram shows users advertisements like one from the popular ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s which included a photo of the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot with bold letters reading, “Vote like your democracy depends on it. Because it does!”
There have been efforts to encourage members of Generation Z to vote and to stress the importance of exercising one’s right to vote in elections, especially because Proposal 2, on the Michigan ballot, aims to protect that right and potentially make it easier for those eligible.
Also included on the ballot is Proposal 3, which challenges women’s right to reproductive freedom.
Mitchell Seavolt, 22, of Jackson is informed about Proposal 3, as well as voting for the governor, but not much else.
“I do know that I should be more informed of what I’ll be voting on, but I mainly get my news on that stuff from social media or from my family,” Seavolt said.
Seavolt thinks that the country is on the right track to encouraging young people to become more involved in the upcoming election.
“I saw a new Snapchat filter on Halloween, saying, ‘Don’t get spooked by the election. Make a plan to vote,’ ” Seavolt said.
“I think that catering to the platforms that young people use is definitely an effective way to remind young people of what is going on because most of us don’t tune into the news every morning,” Seavolt said.
He also expressed the constant advertisements about the election encourage him to do research on what is going on around him.
“Ever since October started I began to see more and more of these advertisements and it actually reminded me that I needed to register to vote so I do think that they grab your attention,” he said.
With the election on November 8, there are last-minute efforts to get as many members of Generation Z to participate and vote. In 2021, the U.S Census reported that the lowest voter turnout was those aged 18-24, with only 51.4% of that age group voting.
A National Society of High School Scholars survey found that 85% of Gen Z planned to vote when asked between August and September of this year. Candidates and officials hope that all of those voters actually get to the polls to cast their votes, and make their voices heard on the matters that will affect them most. Young voters can find a sample ballot for the election at What’s on the ballot?.