Generation Z Voters and 2020 Affecting the Election

Vice+President%2C+Biden%E2%80%99s+campaign+sign+%28left%29+and+President+Trump%E2%80%99s+campaign+sign+%28right%29+taken+in+the+local+area.+Photo+taken+by+-+Mia+Cammarota+

Vice President, Biden’s campaign sign (left) and President Trump’s campaign sign (right) taken in the local area. Photo taken by – Mia Cammarota

Written by Mia Cammarota, Ryan Wilkinson, and Kildea McMahon

Americans are more polarized than ever, and as the election approaches it seems that Generation Z voters, as well as the recent events of 2020, will be the deciding factor of this year’s election. 

This past year has been chaotic on a global scale, and the United States has directly felt the wrath of 2020. A wave of awareness has swept America in the form of social media posts, petitions, protests, and rallies. This influx of highly politically aware voters is Generation Z. 

Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are taking into account this past year’s events when presenting their stance on a variety of issues. The Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19, the economy, Planned Parenthood, and the effects of climate change are all heavily watched issues that are huge factors in the upcoming election. Candidate stances regarding these issues could gain or lose votes. 

Senior Katie Fortin comments on the events of 2020 by saying, “Peaceful protest is a beautiful freedom we have in America, but the rioting and looting that’s been happening may have changed people’s views, especially of many small business owners whose lives of hard work have been burned to the ground. I 100% agree that law enforcement should require more background and mental health checks, but defunding the police will do nothing but create more chaos as you have most likely seen.” Fortin follows this by stating who she will be supporting for this upcoming election. “I’ve always had an open mind, and I do watch both sides of the news. After doing so, I strongly support President Trump’s re-election.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, Democrats seem to be focusing on many issues from this year, but their main aim being to vote President Trump out of office. Junior Zoe Norris, expresses her beliefs on this election by saying, “I full heartedly support Biden’s views over Trumps. I think our president has failed to help people understand the seriousness of Coronavirus, as well as the racial equality issue going on. It’s also not being dealt with the right way whatsoever. Biden’s plans seem more inclusive to communities like LGBTQ+. He supports women being able to choose what they want to do with their bodies, he stands for equality, and believes in climate change, which I 100% support.” Norris will not be able to vote in the upcoming election, but will be registering when she is eighteen.

A large portion of eligible voters are not registered, and this has created a recent movement in spreading the word on the importance of voting. According to PBS News Hour Weekend, around only 58% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2016 election. These low voting turnouts have inspired people to take to any platform and advocate the need for others to vote. 

Woodgrove History teacher Ashley Valasek, shares her opinion on the importance of voting by saying, “In the US, we have the civic duty to have our voices heard in an election; it’s important to remember that every vote counts. Past election races have been very close and your vote can definitely make that difference, as many states use a ‘winner takes all’ approach.”

With the coronavirus affecting in-person ballots, mail-in ballots have become a popular and controversial option. Although the FBI claims there is no evidence showing mail-in ballots can lead to fraud, many voters remain sceptical because of President Trump’s push against it. Loudoun County is making sure that precautions are being taken, whether you’re voting absentee, mail-in, or in person.

The Loudoun County voting office lays out the measures that will need to be taken in order for everyone to have a safe in-person voting experience by saying, “Bring your mask, face covers are required when entering county facilities, and be prepared for social distancing measures in place at all locations.” Anyone can vote whichever way works best for them. Loudoun County Voting Office supports this by making a statement on their website that says, “All registered voters in Virginia are eligible to vote early in-person in the county in which they are registered to vote, no excuse required.”