Everyone 25 and Under Should Get to Vote Twice
By Sam Poulos
“Ok, Boomer” was Gen Z’s Woodstock. A protest in our generation’s native tongue of passive aggressive internet comments. While a solid meme in-and-of itself, the “Ok, Boomer” phenomenon also demonstrates the negative perception many younger Americans have of older citizens’ political views. Climate change, systematic racism, and now corona are constantly ignored by the elders of our society, despite the bi-partisan concerns from younger generations.
Much of Americans’ angst with Boomers comes from the fact that they continue to wield more political power than any other generation. For one thing, there’s just a lot of them. Born in the years following WW2, as millions of Americans turned on the 1940’s equivalent of Marvin Gaye and popped out a generation of future Fox News viewers, Boomers were the largest generation ever birthed up until that point, and continue to be the longest living generation ever. As our national birth rate decreases, and our ability to keep people alive with modern medicine increases, the population will only become more lopsided as citizens age into older brackets faster than young generations have children.
Boomers also vote much more than younger generations. Often, “political disillusionment” of Millenials and Gen Z is used to explain the discrepancy in voter turnout between older and younger generations. But the electoral process itself makes it difficult for young people to vote. Registering to vote for the first time, or in a new state, or for an absentee ballot (or probably in 2020 for a mail-in ballot) is a Herculean task faced primarily by younger generations. The registration system privileges established Americans who’ve lived in the same state for years.
This privilege stands in contrast to the fact that the issues to be voted on will have a longer impact on younger generations. The decisions we make today increasingly take a toll on the possibility of tomorrow. The clearest example is climate change, where senators who don’t have more than fifteen years left on this earth insist on trashing it before they accidentally step into direct sunlight and turn into dust.
The solution to the inordinate amount of power Boomers have is fixed amounts of political influence in elections based on age, similar to the current system of State electors in the electoral college. The Boomers would get a third of the electors, those born between 1965 and 1995 (Gen X - Millennials) would get a third of electors, and those under 25 would get a third of the electors. This system would make it necessary for candidates to win over age groups and guarantee that the youngest generation’s interest carries political weight regardless of their voter turnout. It’s project that those under 25 will compose about 15 percent of voters in 2020, meaning giving that generation 33 percent of the electors would double the weight each voter under 25’s decision would carry.
In the fast paced world of late-stage capitalism, our perception of the country, its problems, and the necessary solutions is invariably linked to our generation. Never before has the life grandparents led been so different from the lives their grandchildren will lead, and never before has it been more important to guarantee those grandchildren have a proper claim on what those lives look like.
Disclaimer: This will never happen. CHOP has a higher probability of being recognized as the 51st state than everyone 25 and under does at voting twice. This article is not meant to be a serious relay of information, but, much like colleges’ announcements for plans in the fall, a meaningless piece of creative non-ficition which adds to the high-pitched humming that has been in everyone’s ears since March.