By Regina Trejo
The Crown (Wilmette, Illinois)
The Regina Dominican graphic design class has been working on posters expressing an opinion on a social issues facing society today. With the November 2016 election around the corner, Katie Collins’ ’16 poster urges young Americans to get out and vote.
The 2016 Presidential elections are already underway and voters have been heading out to the polls to cast their vote. The caucuses and primaries have weeded out some of the major candidates who were running for the position of the President of the United States.
Primaries and caucuses are important elections because they grant delegates to candidates, which, in turn, determines who will be their candidate for the November election. Where they fail is in predicting the outcome of the November elections.
One reason is the lack of young people voting. The millennial vote (those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s) is missing from these elections and probably will be missing in November of 2016.
A study at Tufts University through the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) showed that over the past 40 years, the average percent of young voters, ages 18-29, was around 26.6%. In 2014 alone, only 9.9% of young voters actually got out and voted.
What may it be causing this decline in young voters?
First, millennials are quite hard to reach. Phone banking has the possibility of skipping over many young voters because of young adults’ lack of landlines.
Next, millennials are prone to not having fixed addresses. Going to college, moving apartments, and simply not having settled in a home may hurt their chances of getting fliers or knocks on their doors.
Another factor could be media. Television commercials often do not reach the younger people of America, because frankly, they do not watch television. Netflix and Hulu eliminate the chances of being exposed to presidential campaign commercials. Millennials, who practically live through smartphones, may benefit from online polling, which has not yet become a reality.
Media also contributes to millennials not voting because anything can be put online. Every possible negative release that goes online can make young people distrust those running
The third reason millennials might not be voting is identification limits at polling centers. Legislation has tried to demand that all voters have a government-issued photo ID when they go to vote. In some states, photo IDs are required, but student IDs are not accepted as identification proof. For the young people of America who are in school or working throughout the entire day, accessing a valid photo ID may be difficult.
Lastly, young voters may simply not care—or just feel irritated with what candidates do not offer to them and their country.
The Harvard University Institute of Politics polled 1,456 young adults. When asked if they would vote in the 2016 primaries or caucuses, 36% claimed they definitely would vote while 11% claimed they definitely would not vote. Only 19% said they probably would and similarly 13% said they probably would not vote. 21% of the young adults said they were undecided.
These same people were then asked if they considered themselves politically engaged. Only 21% said that, yes, they were engaged in politics. A startling 79% said that they are not engaged in the politics of their nation.
The last two questions they were asked pertained to the direction of the nation and the economy. 23% of those asked said the nation was going in the right direction while 39% said it was on the wrong track. The other 38% of people chose not to participate in the question.
When asked about the economy, the results were about the same. 29% of those asked said the economy was moving in the right direction, while 37% said it was not. The other 34% chose not to answer this question.
Young Americans should care more about their vote. When an injustice is happening at home, the voices that will be around longer should speak up.
When asked about why voting is one of the most important civic duties, Regina Dominican social studies teacher Ms. Pike said, “It is our chance as a society to show the government what we want.”
Katie Collins, the student behind the graphic, answered these questions.
Q: Why is this topic important to you?
Voting is important to me because it can be the most effective way to change other social issues. It is also one of the easiest ways to make a difference in our country. By choosing to vote, our voices are being heard. Young people voting is especially important to me because we are creating the country we will live in in 20 years. Young people are the voice of America and as US citizens, it is our duty to vote.
Q: What are you trying to accomplish with this visual?
My main goal for this poster is to get the attention of unregistered voters that do not agree with the current structure of the system. I hope that when people see this poster and, whether they do or do not register, they are aware of our ability to make a difference. I also chose to target a young demographic in hopes to remind them that, although they do not have as much life experience or have not done as much as older generations, their opinions are just as, if not more, important.
Q: What was your inspiration?
My inspiration is my generation. The youngest generation eligible to vote is so passionate about what they believe in and I hope that by creating a piece that relates to them, they can be reminded that their voices can be heard.
Q: Explain your visual.
As an artist, I wanted to create something that was interesting yet also relates to young voters. While looking at art through history that was intended for a young audience, I noticed all popular pieces had this certain “vibe” to them. I wanted my poster to be understandable to the targeted demographic but also have a sort of vintage feel. WWII propaganda and 1980’s comic book, (Avengers and Captain America artist, Jack Kirby) art really influenced this piece. I want people to look at the poster and remember that although voting is simple, it can be heroic.
Photo Credit: Katie Collins