Despite all the media coverage of young voters flocking out to support candidates for the presidential election, an article in today’s SF Chronicle points out that people over 60 are still far more likely to vote than those under 30. In June’s presidential primary in California, 43% of eligible voters over 60 cast their ballots, while only 17% of those under 30 did. That’s no way to change the world! It’s true that older voters tend to be more settled, not changing residences as frequently as younger people and therefore not needing to re-register to vote, but that doesn’t seem to explain all of the difference. Campaign workers speculate that young potential voters are more easily turned off from voting because they become disillusioned with the process. Older people know that elections are never perfect and that the whole system of democracy is built on a shaky structure in which private interests war against public good. Still, democracy is the best way we’ve found to allow people to participate in running their government. Stepping out of the fray is no solution, so veteran voters must keep up the effort to persuade young people to vote and participate. Change will come slowly, but it can come if people are willing to fight for it step by weary step.
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