When the Intelligencer set out to find out why Millennials aren’t voting in the 2018 midterm elections, they probably expected to learn that the Democratic and Republican Parties are equally unappealing, or that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to vote for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
What they probably didn’t expect to discover was that Millennials are equal parts lazy and apathetic, and will take any excuse to avoid doing their civic duty.
In an article published Tuesday, apparently the culmination of months of interviews with select Millennials who don’t plan on voting in the midterms, 12 “young people” described the hassle of voting, the difficulty of mailing envelopes, the problems inherent in online voter registration, and, of course, the violence inherent in the “system.”
Samantha, age 22, isn’t voting because “2016 was such a disillusioning experience,” she’s crushed and can’t bring herself to believe her vote counts because her chosen candidate lost. She’s waiting for a “full progressive candidate.” She has a ballot sitting at home because she asked for absentee ballots the last time she voted, but she’s not mailing it in. She calls herself an “informed nonvoter.”
Reese, 23, is “borderline socialist” or was, she’s not super sure. “Talking of voting” is “really big” in her circle of friends, but she just can’t bring herself to do it.
Tim, age 27, does not understand how the post office works. “I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it. I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.” He also has “ADHD” which he says makes it impossible to vote because the “payoff is far off in the future or abstract.” His friends have told him that’s “irresponsible,” but he does not care.
Megan, age 29, has to print a form and mail it in to get an absentee ballot, but she doesn’t own a printer and has no idea how to get stamps.
Drew, 21, is disillusioned. Laura, 21, admits she didn’t know who Joe Biden was until after the election, and, anyway, she just doesn’t “have the time and energy.” Aaron, 25, doesn’t like the fact that “climate change” isn’t part of the Democratic Party platform.
Anna, 21, is just a basket case, because mailing something is hard. “Most people my age have zero need to go to the post office and may have never stepped into one before. Honestly, if someone had the forms printed for me and was willing to deal with the post office, I’d be much more inclined to vote.”
Thomas, 28, thinks voting is so passe: “My polling place is at the end of my block. It takes no time at all; it’s an extremely easy process. But I think that’s also what makes it seem sort of alienating and anticlimactic. You go in and you’re like, ‘This is the climax of democracy,’ like, the sticker on my chest is the climax of democracy.”
Jocelyn, age 27, is the saddest of the bunch. She doesn’t have a drivers license so she has to register to vote in person. But she doesn’t always feel like leaving home, so she didn’t.
That’s bad news for Democrats, who need all of their specific bases to turn out in order to flip the House of Representatives, across the board. It’s good news for Republicans, which Millennials probably don’t vote for anyway. The hardest hit may be Google, though, given that Millennials are no longer able to muster up enough energy to use it to find out where to buy stamps.