Countering the Top Excuses Young People Give for Not Voting
LAW alum and voting advocate Jonathan Allen on why students need to vote “now more than ever”
Excuses, excuses! Young people find plenty of them not to vote. According to the Pew Research Center, of the roughly 138 million people who voted in the 2016 presidential election, only 13 percent were under the age of 30, while people over 65 accounted for 27 percent of the vote. What gives?
Few know more about the elusive youth vote than Niamh Stull (CGS’20, CAS’22) and Juliet Marhamati (CAS’23), both interns with MassPIRG. Since May, the two have been working with the nonprofit’s New Voters Project, an initiative on college campuses across the state to activate the largest voting block in the country. During hours spent on phone banks to register new voters, the two BU students have heard every excuse in the book for why young people might choose not to vote.
BU Today asked Stull and Marhamati to share the top five excuses. We then asked vocal voting advocate and politician Jonathan Allen (LAW’19), who ran for a seat on the Boston City Council last year, to address each reason.
Allen, a former preacher and founder of the Leadership Brainery, a nonprofit that seeks to place low-income and diverse college students in top advanced degree and professional schools, says young voters could play a critical role in this year’s presidential election and statewide races.
“Now, more than ever, my friends, we must vote,” Allen says. “Not only with ourselves in mind, but we must vote with our entire communities in mind and with our future in mind. Let’s go to the polls and let’s let our voices be heard.”