The Unseen Electorate
In the midst of a renewed civil rights movement and a devastating pandemic, one of the best actions young Americans can take to effect change is to vote. So why aren’t they registering to do it?
A recent USA Today article revealed the voter registration rate has plummeted since March. This comes as no surprise: as students headed home and most public venues closed for the summer, established networks to register and engage voters have been rendered infeasible. With social distancing likely to continue into the fall, coordinating effective methods of registration has become imperative.
This predicament poses a particular threat to young people. As youth, we stand to inherit the world our politicians will shape. By that logic, we have the most to lose. However, youth voter participation does not reflect this urgency. According to University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald and his US Elections Project, youth have an average turnout of only 40% at presidential elections since 1998, compared to 67% of voters over 45. To bridge this gap, universities and their respective faculty and student organizations must join together to facilitate and promote youth voting.
As a young person and new voter, I am inspired by the passion and persistence of my generation. The mistakes of today’s politicians will be ours to bear; talk alone will not sway them. To secure the strong leadership we so desperately need, we must not only register but also follow through at the ballot box.
Upper East Side
Fill Out the Census
You might have seen the recent news that President Trump issued a memo aiming to exclude non-citizens from the distribution of Congressional seats.
While patently unconstitutional, it’s important to see this memo for what it truly is: just another attempt by the Trump Administration to manipulate the census, a foundation of our democracy, for partisan, political purposes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred.
We’re not going to be deterred in our fight to achieve a complete and accurate count in the census this year, and our fight to ensure that all New Yorkers, including all immigrants, are fairly represented.
As of July 21, 53% of New Yorkers have responded to the census. We have less than a month to go before the Census Bureau’s door-knockers hit the streets of the five boroughs, so we need every New Yorker to self-respond right now.
If you haven’t filled out the census, please do so right away at my2020census.gov. It is 10 simple questions; takes about 10 minutes, and it will determine the next 10 years of our future here in New York City.
Director, NYC Office of the Census
Offer “Hamilton” for Free
Over the past four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been heartened to see how many organizations in the entertainment industry, and art and science institutions that have stepped up to help all of us in quarantine by offering their plays, concerts, performances, exhibitions, tours & lectures free online.
As of this moment, however, what makes it so very disheartening to see is that the one play, which has been seen around the world with much fanfare and praise – “Hamilton” – was offered only by paying a subscription to a channel.
How many people, children especially, have been pushed aside as they do not have the funding to pay for a subscription. Other organizations, with far smaller budgets than Disney, have generously donated their cultural offerings to help the public pass the time, and learn, while also being entertained.
Perhaps Disney and Mr. Miranda can take this a step further so that those people who can’t afford to subscribe can also enjoy this acclaimed production – offer this production free to the masses, via the schools, the libraries and the movie theaters when they are allowed to re-open. They too should be able to enjoy the experience and then share it with their families, friends and neighbors.
Let’s open up the opportunity to see “Hamilton” to all Americans. It can be a unifying and inclusive experience during this difficult time in our history.
Brenda R. Acevedo