NORFOLK, Va. - According to the U.S. Census Bureau, young people aged 18-29 make up 10% of the United States population.
There will be more than 4 million teens who will turn 18 years old in 2020, with probably an estimate of more than 3 million people turning 18 before Election Day on November 3, according to frontpagelive.com.
In the 2016 election, only 19% of voters were aged 18-29, per thebestcolleges.org.
“It is important for the youth to vote because for us we can see around the world that there is so much wrong with it, and this is going to be our generation and our time to fix it,” Lania Hamilton, a 17-year-old who will turn 18 in late October. “We need everyone to vote because if millions of people who do not vote because they think it does not matter, we are short millions of votes."
As for the importance of knowing the candidates, Hamilton thinks everyone should actually get to at least know them and some of their stances - and not just the Democratic and Republican candidates, either.
“By getting knowledge on who the candidates are, you can make an educated decision to help make things right are,” Hamilton said.
There has not been an election where someone other than a Democrat or Republican got more than 15% of the vote since Ross Perot got almost 19% as an Independent candidate in 1992, according to infoplease.com.
Michele Doyal, a Chicago native who has voted in several elections and is a mother of four, says that she not only encourages her kids to participate in voting, but other people, too.
“That is a must [making sure her kids vote]. I especially encourage people of color to vote,” Doyal said. “I always mention how important it is to vote. It is not just your right to vote, but your obligation. People complain all the time, but you can not complain if you do not vote.”
“I feel like if they [people] feel it is not important to vote, they should just do it anyway," Doyal said in response to people who feel like voting is not important. “If you think it will not make a difference, you might as well vote because if you do not vote and the wrong person gets in office, you did not do your due diligence and you did not use your right. At least if you vote and your preferred candidate loses, you can at least say you tried.”
Polling places for the Virginia primary will open on Tuesday, June 23 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.