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  • Writer's pictureSAMANTHA VEGA-TORRES

Stepping into our political power

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

I used to go with my parents to the polls growing up. My parents never shied away from discussing politics and the upcoming elections with me. This was part of the reason why I was so excited to be able to vote for the first time. Gen-Z feels this way, and wants to make their voices heard. Gen-Z knows having an impact on your local community and country is a great privilege.

Gen Z has the power to make change with their votes. The more we show up to the polls, the more change we can make happen.

Gen Z held a strong debut at the polls on Nov 8. According to ABC News’ exit polling, 12% of voters on Nov 8 were ages 18-29. The poll also showed that young voters largely voted democrat by 63%. “44% picked abortion as their top issue, twice as many as those that picked inflation,” said ABC News. Issues like climate change and gun control are also important to young voters.

In 2020, The New York Times published an article that young people between the ages of 18- 29 do not vote. This was based on the lack of voters to show up during the 2016 election.

It should be noted that the oldest of Gen Z was only 19 at the time of the 2016 election, and most of Gen-Z were not eligible to vote. My generation has the ability to run for office now as well.

Despite the lack of attendance in previous elections, on Nov. 8, Florida elected Maxwell Frost, the first Gen Z representative. Frost is a Democrat that will be representing the 10th congressional district of Florida at only 25 years old.

Frost said on Twitter that he looks forward to representing Florida and Gen Z. “We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future,” said Frost.

Illustration by Pat Carbone

Not every Gen Z running for congress won their election. Karoline Leavitt, New Hampshire's 25-year-old Republican candidate lost to Rep. Chris Pappas. She insists that the GOP failed to bring in young Republican voters. “#GenZ is growing daily AND moving further Left - this will continue to be a colossal challenge for our party if we don’t change young hearts & minds,” tweeted Leavitt.

Some people were not excited about young voters’ turnout at the polls. Many conservatives, such as founder of the anti-muslim group ACT Brigitte Gabriel, were unhappy with Gen-Z’s presence Nov. 8, and argued on Twitter that the voting age should be moved to 21.

Over the next few years, more and more members of Gen Z will be stepping into their political power. We are ready to vote, we are ready to run for office. We want a seat in the room. Other generations should be focusing less on how to limit our voices and more on how to include us in the conversation.


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