By Shannon Smith
Millennials don't vote.
Maybe you vote, but we don't.
Consider these facts:
- Detroiters aged 65 and older are 13 times more likely to turn out in primary elections compared to their 18-to-34-year-old neighbors, and 9 times more likely in general elections. This trend is consistent across income levels.
- The average voting-age Detroit citizen is 47 years old, but the average Detroit voter in general elections is 59 years old.
- In the 2013 general election, Detroiters aged 65 and older voted at a 43.1% rate. 18-to-34-year-olds? 7.4%.
While our generation may claim independence in the age of social media advocacy, these numbers clearly show we are comfortable letting our parents and grandparents make decisions on our behalf. That isn't necessarily bad, but it's leaving a large number of people who are affected by those decisions out of the process.
We think that our democracy is stronger when more voices are heard, and as more millennials move to urban areas, the direction of our city will be even more impacted by how much people of our generation choose to engage with the voting process. So we created a series called #DetroitYouthVote to explore ways that our age group can engage with the issues facing our city and the elected officials making decisions on our behalf. Through education events, volunteer opportunities and more leading up to this November's elections, we hope to hear and offer creative, effective suggestions for political involvement.
What's first? We invite you to join us at a Voter Forum where we will discuss current issues in the city and upcoming ways you can get involved.
When: Thursday, April 27th, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: University of Michigan Detroit Center, 3663 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
Registration link: Click HERE to register!
Look for more information here and across our social media in the coming months. We look forward to taking on this important challenge with you.
Data source: Who Votes for Mayor?, Knight Foundation/Portland State University Pilot Research Report, July 2015 - https://www.pdx.edu/prc/sites/www.pdx.edu.prc/files/Who_Votes_for_Mayor_Sept_2015.pdf