Why didn’t we vote?

Dear Millennials,

Why didn’t we vote in this last midterm election? Was it really voter apathy? Was it because we are so entitled, and full of ourselves, that we didn’t believe any of the candidates spoke to the issues that we find important? That’s what this Salon piece claims. Or, was it because of voter suppression, as this piece posits?

Is this why Millennials didn’t vote?

Probably, it was a combination of the two.

I am an instructor at a University, and I almost didn’t vote. It wasn’t because I didn’t care–in fact, I really, really cared about two of the candidates running for city council, and I really, really didn’t want the governor (who was elected) to be elected. I also knew who I didn’t want to be elected for superintendent of our public schools (she was also elected), etc.

This GOP ad campaign made me want to go for a really long, muddy mountain bike ride, and race a few sexist males on the downhill.

I almost didn’t vote because it was a giant pain in the ass. Rent is extremely high in this small mountain town. So high, that we made a New York Times list of top twenty places with the highest rent to income ratio. High rent for poorly insulated, moldy and sagging houses–combined with unpleasant landlords and property management companies–means that I have moved around a lot. Three times in the last four years, to be exact. And  I’m not an anomaly. Moving around is what young people in this small town do. Actually, moving around is what Millenials across the country have been doing since graduating from college.

This is a tangent. But moving around makes it difficult to vote. Okay, that sounds like a statement an entitled and lazy Millennial would make. Mail in ballots are easy, right? All you have to do is call the county supervisor’s office to change your address. You can even do it online!

Well, I called three times before this election to try and change my address. All three times, the women in the office didn’t quite know what to tell me. On the third call, they assured me that if I brought my car registration (with my new address on it) to my new precinct, I could update my address there. (By the way, I also tried to change it online and I was sent a rejection email–explaining that I should call the county supervisor’s office).The volunteers at the precinct where I voted on Election Day were extremely friendly, but they were also extremely concerned that I hadn’t updated my address. They told me my vote might not count.

That’s how I felt!

The woman next to me was also dealing with a similar situation, except her original precinct told her she needed to vote at this precinct, and this precinct was about to send her right back. She looked like she was thirty-ish.

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