Taking Back the Vote
Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy
Baby boomers (myself included) will remember what a momentous event it was when 18-year-olds got the vote in 1971. So why has voting among the 18-to-25 demographic declined by approximately 15 percent since then? Eisner, a syndicated columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, argues that there’s been, among young people, a kind of unconscious trade-off between voting and community service, which—with its instant, if often fleeting, results—has witnessed a dramatic upswing. As a result, Eisner argues, many have come to internalize the message that "voting is optional."
The problem, as Eisner emphasizes, is that while its effects are less immediately evident, only voting can address such issues as environmental degradation, educational funding, and foreign policy. To change this nonparticipatory state of affairs, Eisner wants to increase civic education so that students will be better informed about their rights and responsibilities in a democracy.
Whether such knowledge will translate into action is unclear. More pragmatic, perhaps, is her suggestion that we ease restrictive voting laws—in seven states, for instance, an individual must vote for the first time in his or her home district—that too often keep increasingly mobile young citizens from voting.
Vol. 16, Issue 02, Page 51
Get more stories and free e-newsletters!
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Milwaukee, Wisconsin SchoolsJoin Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI
- Middle School Band Teacher
- The International Educator, Hong Kong
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Boston, Massachusetts Public Schools Join Our Free Online STEM
- Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Charlottesville, Virginia Join Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlottesville, VA
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Seattle, Washington Join Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Mercer Island School District, Mercer Island, WA