STRENGTH, SWAY & STEWARDSHIP: YOUNG LGBTIQ VOTERS

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Alturi Project Strategist

Voting in any democracy might not be the most exciting thing in the world, and perhaps even less engaging the younger a person is. The variable of age within the LGBTIQ population comes with a variety of interests, attitudes, and behaviors. Even that variable has changed over time: The older generations should know that today’s young voting population is participating at higher levels than when the older generations were their age. Today’s youth have strength, sway, and stewardship, which, if put into action with the minimal effort required to vote, could make a difference in the outcomes of elections.

STRENGTH

In 2023, Pew Research reported on voter participation, or lack thereof, in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 United States elections. What stands out is that people over 50 vote more often than people under 50. Within the voting-eligible population, interest is higher with the LGBTIQ population: GLAAD recently discovered that motivation to vote in 2024 is 94%. That high motivation, especially when shared with their peers, carries the strength to change election outcomes. Further, since young voters likely have a longer future ahead of them than older voters, there is much more at stake than the short term: Young voters have the power to flex their strength with simple and decisive action for the long-term resilience of their democracies. 

SWAY

Over the past few U.S. election cycles, young voters have prioritized different issues than other age groups. For example, while issues like abortion rights and the economy appeal to all ages, young voters have prioritized actions on gun safety, canceling student debt, and the advancement of green energy. In the last few years, it’s clear that young voters’ priorities were heard and acted on, which is a testament to the fact that young voters have sway. As one young voter was quoted by the Associated Press, “What’s most important to America’s youth is having a president who listens to our concerns and knows how to deliver on solutions that improve our lives.” While the concerns may have changed over the years, young folks need to understand that the power of their actions has the influence to sway political leaders. Voting is not just about electing a president; it also allows us to influence state and local politics. Sometimes, people who don’t get the candidate they want may think they wasted their vote. However, only unused votes are truly wasted votes. In recent primary elections, especially in Michigan and Minnesota, voters proved that voting uncommitted sends a strong message that raises important issues and influences conversations at the highest power levels. Every vote has the potential to make a difference. Voting is the action that enables young voters to utilize their sway.

STEWARDSHIP

The ability of a democracy to continue self-governance through representation depends on voters electing leaders who will truly represent and serve the people. The youth of a country are vital in stewarding the short and long-term stability of self-government because their participation, with the minimal effort of voting, is needed. When autocratic rule threatens the safety and freedom of the people, thoughtful and responsible action is the only solution. Many members of the global LGBTIQ community have valid concerns about their safety and freedom to be themselves. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports that older LGBTIQ people are at an even higher risk of violence and discrimination due to their age. Young LGBTIQ voters have the power to make a difference by voting. By exercising their right to vote, they can help overcome structural ageism and create a safer world for people of all ages in the LGBTIQ community. They can ensure everyone can be themselves. The youngest voters have a great responsibility to care for democracy and shape the future into one that treats every human being with dignity and respect simply by casting their ballot. When young people vote in higher numbers, their strength, sway, and stewardship can make every state a swing state.

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