For Florida State University student Michelle Stern, what happened on Valentine’s Day 2018 is a reminder of the importance of her civic duties.
“Personally, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School really affected me,” Stern said. “That’s why I am going to be working hard to make sure that everyone I come in contact with votes on Nov. 6.”
The United States 2018 midterm elections are November 6. All 435 members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for election. Because the midterm elections occur halfway through a president’s term, they have the potential to sway Congress and determine the approval of certain political agendas.
According to the Pew Research Center, Generation X and younger currently make up 59 percent of voting-eligible adults in the U.S. In 2014, Generation X and younger made up 53 percent of eligible voters; only 36 million casted votes, which was a significantly low number compared to older generations.
Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County Susan Bucher said turnout for millennial voters has been dismal in the past but there is a noticeably greater interest in voting this year.
Political views may play a role in how young adults vote this midterm. Of the 59 percent of voter-eligible adults, 59 percent affiliate with or express views toward the Democratic party. According to the 2016 Democratic Platform, the party focuses on bringing Americans together, securing environmental justice and ensuring the health and safety of all Americans.
The aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting led to thousands of young adults becoming politically involved and voicing the need for gun control reform. March for our Lives, a student led event in Washington D.C., was an effort to honor the 17 victims killed in Parkland, Florida, according to CBS News. Over 200 thousand people were in attendance.
Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z are also vocal about global warming, same-sex marriage and immigration policies according to research exploring generation gaps provided by the Pew Research Center.
The outcome of this year’s midterm elections is unpredictable, but if young-adults are as vocal on November 6 as they have been throughout the year, there is a possibility of a Democratic majority in Congress.
“We elect individuals to represent us and our interests in the government,” Stern said. “If we don’t vote, then our representatives are not going to be representative of the population.”