Skip to navigationSkip to content

12 Young People on Why They Probably Won’t Vote

By Intelligencer

Only a third of Americans ages 18 to 29 say they will cast a ballot next month. Here, we ask whyRead full story

Comments

  • Also share to
  • Sonya Jackson
    Sonya JacksonproFounder at Mantra for Good

    This is distressing. Had a conversation with several twenty somethings recently who are not planning to vote. As a person who has not missed voting in an election since I was 18, it’s hard to understand any excuse for not voting. Democracy is not a given and every generation must fight for it.

  • Ian Myers
    Ian MyersFounder at Country House Enterprises

    Disillusionment is no excuse for lack of participation in the democratic process.

    Many on the right were disillusioned when Obama was elected twice. What if they had stayed home during 2016? Their candidate wouldn’t have won.

    It’s repeated so much during election season it almost feels like propaganda, but voting is the single most effective way to bring about change. So stop whining and vote.

  • Been a while since I screamed at my phone, but these testimonials did the trick.

  • Voting is a privilege... one that many in other countries give their life for. Throwing your vote away is not something I can understand.

  • Christina Passarella
    Christina Passarella Project Manager

    I would love to know the demographic makeup of the people interviewed because their statements speak so openly of privilege. Not caring, being disillusioned, and refusing to participate in our political process, however flawed it may be, is ignorant and selfish at best. You have all the information in the known universe in a devise that fits in the palm of your hand. Inform yourself then go vote! As an aside, there’s a great op ed in The NY Times by Roxane Gay yesterday that speaks to this well.

  • Lots of good reasons here, and more than enough bad ones. But living in a democracy isn’t supposed to be easy; if you want to have a say in the direction of the country, go vote. No matter how difficult it may be.

  • Aaron  Warner
    Aaron WarnerOwner at Good News Training

    I am both strangely comforted by the fact that these particular people are too disaffected to vote while also being somewhat saddened at how ignorant and underwhelming their reasons are for taking a pass.

    Perhaps this illustrates the protection born into our democratic-republican system where ignorance and diffidence can be trumped (no pun intended) by the activity of the dedicated and willing.

    Voting is a God given right in America, just like the freedom of speech, however just because you can

    I am both strangely comforted by the fact that these particular people are too disaffected to vote while also being somewhat saddened at how ignorant and underwhelming their reasons are for taking a pass.

    Perhaps this illustrates the protection born into our democratic-republican system where ignorance and diffidence can be trumped (no pun intended) by the activity of the dedicated and willing.

    Voting is a God given right in America, just like the freedom of speech, however just because you can talk doesn’t mean you have something to say.

    To their credit, there may be some wisdom behind their reticence and we might all give them thanks for deferring until they are more clear in their thinking about the people, issues and practices we pursue in American politics.

  • Peter Barr
    Peter Barr

    Are these real people? They seem so stereotypically ignorant and pathetic that I’m guessing that they must be fictional. I had the urge to slap most of these helpless fools up side the head.

  • I’m allowed to vote because I live on the mainland (Puerto Ricans cannot vote otherwise). I have no control over these kids, but as a parent, I take my kids with me and they watch me vote. When they ask who I voted for I tell them I wrote their names on the ballot.

    I want them to vote as adults for the simple reason that they should take ownership of their future and not sit by passively.

  • Michael Allen
    Michael AllenRetired CFO and World Traveler

    How many of you over the age of 35 and who are critical of Millennials who don’t vote actually voted yourselves when you were in your 20s? I certainly think it’s important to vote, but if Progressives (like me) need more Millennials to vote (because they are generally more Progressive) then we are complete hypocrites if suddenly we hold them to a higher standard than our own generation’s voting behavior.

  • Janet Gale
    Janet GaleRetired Engineering Manager

    I'm retired so I don't have to work with young adults with that attitude. I've been saying for years that critical thinking skills are getting lost in the educational systems and at home and just generally in life. They are our future, but will they grow up? What worries me is whether they're absorbing nuances and picking up on life around them as they move through life. And I don't mean reading Internet articles.

  • Jessica Dougherty
    Jessica Dougherty

    I couldn't even finish reading this because it was so frustrating. Half of the problems these people mentioned come down to pure laziness and other millennial problems, like the guy who experiences anxiety mailing things, or the girl who just doesn't know how to deal with the post office. I'm 22, technically a gen z, and I have never missed an election. As a registered independent, I understand feeling like my vote doesn't matter, and no matter what I won't feel fully represented. Regardless, I will

    I couldn't even finish reading this because it was so frustrating. Half of the problems these people mentioned come down to pure laziness and other millennial problems, like the guy who experiences anxiety mailing things, or the girl who just doesn't know how to deal with the post office. I'm 22, technically a gen z, and I have never missed an election. As a registered independent, I understand feeling like my vote doesn't matter, and no matter what I won't feel fully represented. Regardless, I will continue to vote for moderate candidates, and when one that I vote for finally sees office, I might just cry out of pure joy, because that is how change is made!

  • John Poveromo
    John PoveromoComedian

    I can understand being disillusioned enough not to vote. Especially when you’re struggling. When you think about it even when your side wins if you’re not the type to directly pay attn to politics and the legislation being passed you don’t notice the win because it doesn’t actually affect you personally.

    In other words - you vote, your side wins, you’re still struggling. And there’s always “more work” to be done. A fight to be fought. It’s not bad enough the average person can’t get to a doctor

    I can understand being disillusioned enough not to vote. Especially when you’re struggling. When you think about it even when your side wins if you’re not the type to directly pay attn to politics and the legislation being passed you don’t notice the win because it doesn’t actually affect you personally.

    In other words - you vote, your side wins, you’re still struggling. And there’s always “more work” to be done. A fight to be fought. It’s not bad enough the average person can’t get to a doctor when they’re sick but you also have people screaming about the Internet being taken away? Again? Didn’t we just vote to save it a year ago?

    Voting and preaching about the responsibility of staying informed is a luxury not everyone can afford. It’s also a responsibility people can’t afford to overlook. So we need to compromise and make it more accessible. We need to make election days holidays. We need to make sure registering and actually voting is something you can do online or on your phones. We don’t have to make it cool or fun, but we have to make it less like a day at the DMV.

  • Otis Marti
    Otis MartiDirect Care Staff at Rise Inc.

    Lots of excuses no real reasons. When our democracy is gone they will regret their actions.

  • I’m an immigrant who became a citizen at 18. I couldn’t wait to vote and so did my peers who were immigrants. American-born peers didn’t care. It’s beyond me how stupid American-born citizens can be about the privilege, right and duty to vote. It’s plain stupidity.

  • Max Lockie
    Max LockiePlatform Editor at Quartz

    “Mail gives me anxiety” agshgagahhdhdj

  • Jing Cao
    Jing CaoQuartz

    Controversial take alert: we can and should roll our eyes mightily at the laziness and privilege these people exhibit in their interviews...but I also think that this speaks to another issue. Voting is hard! As in, the process of voting is hard. The process of registering to vote, learning about your candidates to become informed, all hard. I 100% think it IS everyone’s civic duty to vote, but why does it have to be so hard?

    Just this morning my boyfriend and I were talking about his coworker, who

    Controversial take alert: we can and should roll our eyes mightily at the laziness and privilege these people exhibit in their interviews...but I also think that this speaks to another issue. Voting is hard! As in, the process of voting is hard. The process of registering to vote, learning about your candidates to become informed, all hard. I 100% think it IS everyone’s civic duty to vote, but why does it have to be so hard?

    Just this morning my boyfriend and I were talking about his coworker, who was all excited to vote this year. But he was registered to vote in Virginia, not New York. He said: well I’m sure I can just figure it out day of. How hard could it be to switch? Answer: really f&$king hard. Takes months. Takes freaking paper mail. So no, he won’t be voting this year. On the one hand, you can call him an idiot for not doing his due diligence and figuring it out. On the other hand, why CAN’T he figure it out day of? Why can’t he switch his voter registration easily?

    In a time when everything has been made easier by technology and everyone therefore expects processes of all kinds to have become as easy as ordering on Amazon, it’s baffling that voting still feels like it’s stuck in the 1800s.

  • Alex Lockie
    Alex LockieNews Editor at Business Insider

    Do you think any midterm election will crack 65% turnout? These people are being honest.

    Hating on them is just another example of how the average American is ready to throw roughly half the country in the trash. Not good. Take care of your own business first before being so distressed about what others are doing.

  • Brian Benson
    Brian Benson

    What terrifies me is the embrace of socialism of the majority of the people in the article. These people have probably never had to struggle. They have lived through the most fruitful growth the United States has seen, so they think the Gov’t should be involved in socialistic policies. What they don’t understand is that because they “don’t feel good” means everyone and everything must change. Look around, you would be willing to give up the last beacon of hope in the world because you haven’t struggle and think it should be handed to you.

  • Phoebe Gavin
    Phoebe GavinGrowth Editor at Quartz

    This breaks my heart. Please talk to the young people in your life about voting. Don't talk down to them even if you think they deserve it. Just help them.

  • It is a funny thing how these guys are taking for granted what people actually have died for.

  • I’m appalled of the first 3 opinions displayed at the beginning of the article. It’s incredible how families, social circles, schools and society in general has shaped this kind of individuals with a lot of tools for them to have the best choice when it comes to decide, but the lack of confidence is abhorrent.

    How did this happen? Moreover, how long is going to take for them to gain that confidence and embrace the fact that their decisions are the ones missing in their actual present?

  • In my personal experience, while liberals outnumber conservatives on a large state college campus, conservatives are more ardent in their beliefs and more politically involved. I think being in the minority is part of the reason that college conservatives are more involved. They might feel more personal responsibility, whereas liberals see their large numbers on campus being impotent in national or state politics.

  • Mark Whitney
    Mark Whitney

    One day these young people are going to wake up and decide: "Now I want to vote." Only to find that their right to vote has been taken away from them. This is one of prices of allowing others to decide for them.

  • yet another reason for online voting with smartphones...eventually.

  • David Landau
    David LandauManaging Partner

    Oh no. A solid counter argument:

    "You’re Disillusioned. That’s Fine. Vote Anyway."

    https://nyti.ms/2CREad9?smid=nytcore-ios-share

  • In Australia it is an offence punishable by fine not to vote.

  • John Commons
    John CommonsEditor and Writer at RCM News

    These kids are a ridiculous example of their generation. I don't know if it's because they are liberal, or if Intelligencer went out of their way to find a bunch of apathetic sulky brats. I can say from my experience at the last Trump rally that conservative millenials are MOTIVATED and planning to vote. I was honestly shocked at the number of 20 somethings in attendance. They made up at least 30% of the audience. Maybe more. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens on Nov 6.

  • 200,000,000 Americans are registered to vote. The opinions of 12 of them is not news and it is not research. It is lazy click baiting.

  • Mo Bhimji
    Mo BhimjiStrataConnex - Strata Mgmt Software

    ...and these will be the same people that will complain about how gov't is run. You don't have a legitimate voice if you do not vote.

  • Vidya S.
    Vidya S.

    It’s like they found the most extreme caricatures of young people today. Being anxious to mail things? Not knowing how a post office works? Really?

  • Wow, many didn't have a past election turn out as they voted, so they throw in the towel? Dang, a whole lotta growing up needed here. SMH.

  • Kevin Wilson
    Kevin WilsonProject Manager at undisclosed

    All I read there are piss poor excuses.

    This generation expects everything to be given to them. Their apathy and entitlement cause them to not vote. They blame the Democratic party for not representing them.

    Don't feel you are being represented as an excuse to not vote? How about participating in the process so you are!

    Their failure to vote resulted in the worst US President ever, sitting in the White House.

    Alex Lockie wow. Wish there was a thumbs down.

    Considering what happened, the "hate" is justified.

  • Howie Thompson
    Howie ThompsonKaplan University

    Some people have just lost the faith in our Democracy.

  • Erin Rey
    Erin ReySchool Counselor

    I’m on the cusp of Gen-X and Millennials. I’m a high school counselor. I am a registered Democrat. I honestly see this problem lasting a very long time into the future. What I just read overall was either “My everyday life is way too important to bother taking more than five minutes to register or vote,” and “I don’t like the results of past elections so I’m going to pout by way of not voting at all.”

  • Agustin Uranga
    Agustin UrangaHair Stylist at Agustin’s Hair Deals

    But what if I have no faith in the system? Do you participate in thing you abhor?

  • Patricia Lincourt
    Patricia LincourtSocial Worker

    Interesting. I’d also like to hear from 12 that do plan to vote!

  • Raymond Willis
    Raymond WillisPrez/CEO

    Basically, either lazy, I should live in a socialist country, everyone must think like me, or it is just too hard. Probably good that they don’t vote as they really don’t understand the value of the US or they dislike the US.

  • I wonder what the voting percentages are for other age groups. How many Gen Xers vote? Baby Boomers? And how many of them voted not now but when they were in their twenties? That’s the real question. Otherwise, this piece is just click bait.

    To be fair, I don’t know if the piece actually answered that question; I got too disgusted to finish it. It only occurred to me later that this comparison is the real context needed.

  • John McGregor
    John McGregor

    Whatever their views...please vote! Since i have been able to vote (18) i have not missed a municipal...provincial...or federal vote..(age now 72)

  • Get off the damn sidelines and put some damn skin in the game. Stop letting others choose for you.

  • Not voting because the line is too long, or because “your guy” didn’t get a nomination shouldn’t be an excuse. People assume elections are just for the President, there are way more important elections right in your backyard that have a greater impact on your daily life. Those are the elections that matter, those are the elections that can make a difference. Take 10 minutes, educate yourself, and vote. Even if you have a stand in line for a few minutes.

  • David Rodeck
    David RodeckDirector of Content at Invested Media

    Seeing apathy like this is depressing but it's up to politicians to motivate young people to vote. Too many shrug their shoulders and say there's nothing they can do.

    Make it easier to vote and put out issues people understand. Kids don't vote on a balanced budget, but maybe weed decriminalization would get some people off the couch.

  • Brandon Boyer
    Brandon BoyerFinancial Analyst

    There are a fair number of countries, including Australia, that have and enforce compulsory voting. Not saying that it is the way to go and not knowledgeable enough about the challenges these countries face with compulsory voting, but it seems like efforts in the States to increase voter turnout are often met with obstacles, sometimes deliberate and politicized, such as not processing new voter applications. There is significant differentiation between how states conduct their voting - I was able

    There are a fair number of countries, including Australia, that have and enforce compulsory voting. Not saying that it is the way to go and not knowledgeable enough about the challenges these countries face with compulsory voting, but it seems like efforts in the States to increase voter turnout are often met with obstacles, sometimes deliberate and politicized, such as not processing new voter applications. There is significant differentiation between how states conduct their voting - I was able to vote early in DC yesterday (and available in 30ish states). When people, esp. younger could be voters, feel like it is more of a chore than a civic responsibility or buy into the notion that their vote doesn’t matter in a blue or red state, the dangerous complacency that allows a 1/3 minority to win the day is the result.

  • Wait and see what happens.

  • Lisa  Patrick
    Lisa Patrick

    Voting is a privilege! Don’t give that away! Use it! There is no excuse to not vote, ever. Take a stand and be heard. At least we still have that right.

  • William Wood
    William WoodOwner at William Wood

    A little, I don’t like what you are doing, so I’m going to rake my football and go home. In reality they are voting, NO to each party.

  • Roni Rebelo
    Roni Rebelo

    Relative intelligence and common-sense are ideal pre-requisites when voting.

    These pampered, self-entitled, openly Socialist brats should not be voting and good for them, and better for us, that they are not.

  • Derek Bekeny
    Derek Bekeny

    Mid-term elections have voter participation of 40%. Let's see how that number comes out before we Chicken Little ourselves into despair.

Want more conversations like this?

Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise.

App Store BadgeGoogle Play Badge
Leaderboard Screenshot

A community of leaders, subject matter experts, and curious minds bringing nuance back to how we talk about the news.

Editors' Picks Screenshot

No content overload: our editors will curate the most notable and discussion-worthy pieces for you every day.

Share Screenshot

Don’t just read the story, tell it: contribute your ideas and experience to the dialogue.