How Well Did We “Get Out Her Vote?”

By Jacqueline Sun

The midterm elections have flown right by and we are all settling down from the excitement that came along. Many students nationwide mobilized to get out the vote and encouraged their fellow peers to be active citizens by casting their votes on election day.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Get Out Her Vote” campaign clearly laid out what was going to be at stake if young students didn’t go out to vote in this year’s midterm elections. GOHV focused on issues that really resonated with college students, especially with young women: reproductive rights, marriage equality, immigration, the environment, and access to higher education were going to be on the chopping block if we didn’t educate and mobilize ourselves on ballot measures and congressional representatives. With propositions on state ballots ranging from abortion restrictions (Prop. 62 in CO), to the possible elimination of environmental protection and green jobs (Prop. 23 in CA), it was imperative that young people organized and voted!

So did the midterm elections bring young voters out to the polls this year? The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) found that “an estimated 20.4 percent of young Americans under the age of 30 voted in Tuesday’s midterm elections, compared to 23.5 percent in the last midterm election (2006).” Almost nine million Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 voted and current research shows that youth participate when they are asked to do so. Even though the youth voter turnout decreased from the last midterm election, we still proved that our voting block should definitely not be underestimated! The more we encourage others to engage with the civil process of voting, the more we undoubtedly affect the outcomes of our respective elections, including the upcoming 2012 election which is right around the corner!

It is important to recognize the power that youth have in transforming our political landscape, but we also need to acknowledge that we need more women representing us on both state and federal levels. Women are more than half of the nation’s population and the 2010 election results say otherwise in regards to equal representation. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) found that “the number of women in Congress has not dropped since 1979 and has not stayed level since 1987.” With at least 17 women serving in the U.S. Senate and 73 women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives* for the upcoming terms, our representation in Congress remains low and stagnate.

I don’t know about you but I am getting deathly tired of knowing that the people who are creating policies regarding my reproductive health and rights have no idea what my lived daily lived experience is as a young woman. Women win races at the same rates that men do. So why don’t we have more women in office? Simply not enough women run! So this is your call to action to get out there and run for office! We need more feminists in office looking out for equality for all people.

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