By Taariq Ahmed
Edited by Annika Lilja
With the November midterm elections just around the corner, the ways for teenagers to become involved are not so clearly outlined. So what can teenagers do to engage in the elections?
First of all, if you are a U.S. citizen and are either 18 years old or will be 18 by Election Day, November 8, then you are eligible to vote. If you are unsure about your eligibility, you can clarify by contacting your state or local election office. If interested in voting, you should confirm that you are registered. If not, you can register in-person, by-mail or online. However due to varying deadlines, you can find more information through either your state government or other online websites. Additionally, you can search for nearby polling stations to vote. Vote.org is a great and useful resource that can assist with many of these listed steps.
Although many teenagers cannot vote due to the age limit, there are still many ways to be a part of the process. Here are a few examples:
Encourage Others to Vote
Teens can assist family members, friends to register and vote. There are also plenty of nonpartisan local organizations that provide teens with the opportunity to reach larger audiences. Additionally, teens can spread reliable information about voting within their schools and communities.
Support a Candidate
Teens can support particular candidates through direct donation to their campaign, attending promotional events, or canvassing by phone banking. Some candidates also run their own endorsement programs in which teenagers can participate.
Speak Out on Political Issues
Teens can vocalize their opinions about political issues that matter to them through all sorts of outlets- whether it be physical posters and flyers or social media messages and posts. Teens can also reach out to and communicate with their local representatives to advocate for specific topics that they think need to be addressed. Also, teens do not have to actually share their personal beliefs with the world; they can simply spread awareness of which issues are currently important to the elections or are being addressed on the ballot itself.
An Additional Resource to Explore:
“Who Can and Can’t Vote in U.S. Elections” USAGov. www.usa.gov/who-can-vote.
“Growing Voters: 18 Ways Youth under 18 Can Contribute to Elections.” Circle at Tufts, 17 Jan. 2020, https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/growing-voters-18-ways-youth-under-18-can-contribute-elections.
Desai, Sanjna S. “Vox 5: How Teens Can Stay Politically Active.” VOX ATL, 18 Mar. 2022, https://voxatl.org/vox-5-how-teens-can-stay-politically-active/.