The Florida Democratic and Republican primaries fall in the middle of spring break season this election year. As active as millennials have been so far this election, this unfortunate coincidence may alter the results of several state primaries.
Millennials are impacting this election. We are the largest demographic in the country, numbering an estimated 83.1 million. Unfortunately, according to census.gov, we have the lowest voting rate of all age groups.
The highest youth voter turnout was in 2008, with 49 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds heading to the polls. 51 percent of our demographic chose to stay at home rather than lend their vote to influence the future of the U.S.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) ranked Florida eighth in the country for states where young voters could have the most influence.
Florida has 2.7 million young voters and is more diverse than any other state on CIRCLE’s list — 25 percent of youth in Florida are black and 23 percent are Latino.
College students claim to be passionate about politics. We claim to want social reform and have enthusiastically supported the candidates we feel can truly bring about positive change.
But if we choose to skip out on the polls in exchange for an extra hour at the beach, we completely give up the right to complain come November, when we inaugurate a president that will run our country into the ground.
The preliminaries are essential to getting the candidate the majority of the U.S. wants as the nominee. How often have you found yourself angry because our generation isn’t represented? Issues we care about often seem to be completely irrelevant to our politicians.
Voting is the only way to solve this. Thankfully, college students across the country have been lending their support to their ideal candidate.
According to CNN’s entrance and exit polls, Bernie Sanders won 84 percent of the millennial vote in Iowa and 65 percent in Massachusetts. In Iowa, millennials were 18 percent of total voters and 19 percent of the vote in Massachusetts.
Clinton won 62 percent of young voters in Mississippi and 52 percent in Alabama. Trump earned 33 percent of millennial vote in Alabama, Cruz won 34 in Arkansas and Rubio won 37 percent in Nevada.
Florida plays a monumental role in this election. There are many delegates up for grabs, and it’s essential they go to the candidate the citizens truly want.
If you know you are going to be lounging on the beach or riding roller coasters at Universal, vote early. There are 15 locations in Tampa, alone, dedicated to early voting.
According to Miami.cbslocal.com over 1.2 million Floridians have voted early or absentee so far. If you’re a registered Republican or Democrat, all you need is your ID to cast your vote.
It literally takes minutes to accomplish and will ultimately make an impact on this election. Read up on the candidates, grab your keys and head to the polls. Otherwise, you have absolutely no right to complain with your new tan when your favorite candidate fails to receive the nominee.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.