Sunday, May 19, 2024

Young people avoid voting


By Aleksandra Sidorova

The lineup for the upcoming presidential election of current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump discourages some young people from voting at all.

Voters 18 to 35 said they found candidates unrelatable due to their age. Issues important to them included reproductive and LGBT+ rights and the U.S.’ involvement in international politics. Some brace themselves for both outcomes.

“It is so bad,” SUNY Plattsburgh graduate student Angel Martinez, 25, said of the Biden-Trump tossup. “I’m not terrified of a Trump presidency because I’ve survived it already.”

Martinez said part of them thinks they wouldn’t vote at all.

“The change of a singular vote and the fact that, I think, regardless of who came into presidency, because of the way they both navigate political and social issues, the everyday life wouldn’t change,” Martinez said. “There would still be disparity and a lack of trickle-down to my world or the world of the people that I care about and love.”

Martinez, who identifies as queer, wants “meaningful and elaborate change” from a future president.

“I want a huge focus on issues at home, and that’s not discounting the issues across seas in terms of various genocidal actions of other countries, but I see a lot of pain in our country now, especially when it comes to queer life,” Martinez said.


Angel Martinez



Plattsburgh native Matthew Stiles, 21, said, “I don’t even feel like following current political events is even worth my time.”

Stiles didn’t register to vote until he renewed his license after his most recent birthday, but doesn’t actually plan to cast a ballot in November.

“In my mind, keeping up with all the bullshit and underlying shenanigans with politicians these days, it seems there’s corruption everywhere. I just don’t feel like it’s even worth my time or my word is even heard in any way,” he said.

Zach Derhak, 22, a SUNY Plattsburgh student originally from Portland, Maine, doesn’t consider himself a political person, but he considers foreign policy an important issue that’s on the table, especially the amount of money sent toward war overseas.

Derhak said it “would be nice” if there were younger candidates in the presidential race.

If it came down to former president Donald Trump or current president Joe Biden, Derhak said, with a sigh, that he’d vote neither.

“I’d rather just not vote in that case,” he said. “My mom might force me to vote, so we’ll see.”’


Zach Derhak



Zane Bazzano, 28, from Peru, New York, also refuses to choose between Biden and Trump.

“It’s all so polarized that, as somebody not affiliated with either party, it’s hard to choose a candidate,” Bazzano said.

Bazzano has found voting unsatisfying in general.

“I’ve never left voting for an elected official feeling, ‘Oh, I really feel good about this person and hope they win,’” Bazzano said. “It’s more so who’s the least bad instead of who’s the most good — that’s how it feels.”

He also finds candidates unrelatable.

“There’s not very many relatable people, unless you’re 60-plus,” Bazzano said.

Instead, Bazzano sees himself researching and voting for a third candidate — something he’s done for years — though he hasn’t yet decided whom. The issues important to him are education, healthcare and the economy.

“I can only say who I’m not going to vote for,” Bazzano said. “I couldn’t say who I am going to vote for.”


Zane Bazzano and his daughter, Avery



Friends Hailey Christiansen and Olivia Hetfield, both 23 and from Plattsburgh, said they will vote for Biden.

“I wouldn’t be thrilled that (Biden and Trump) are the two options, but I would go for Biden, because I think, at a personal level, his beliefs more align with mine, and I also think he’s less inflammatory in general,” Hetfield said.

“I think Trump is kind of disrespectful,” Christiansen said. “Hearing the way he talks about women as someone who’s supposed to be our president and caring about everyone, it’s sad. It makes you really disappointed.”

Christiansen concerns herself with voting for a candidate who will not “say and do things that make me question the country as a whole.” She also considers candidates’ age, which Biden has addressed in a recent campaign video, saying: “Look, I’m not a young guy. That’s no secret.”

“I think we have people that are way too old running this country,” Christiansen said.

Christiansen said she works in a hospital, mostly with seniors, and cites generational differences in how older generations plan for the future, as opposed to younger generations.

“They don’t really take the whole picture into account. It’s more ‘Let’s get through the next four years’ versus ‘Let’s improve the country as a whole for our future generations,’” Christiansen said.

Hetfield also noted that older politicians tend to be “near-sighted.”

“They make plans and actions for now, instead of thinking about the future and how it impacts the younger generations who will have to grow up in the environment they create,” Hetfield said.

Both said they see a younger candidate as more willing to compromise and keep an open mind to new ideas — a trait they said is important when it comes to lawmaking.

“I love my grandparents to death, they’re amazing, but if I’m talking to them about certain opinions, it’s just frustrating,” Christiansen said. “They’re not going to change their minds.”

The issues most pressing to Hetfield are reproductive and LGBT+ rights.

“It’s important to have someone that stands up for minorities in this country, in general,” Hetfield said.


Hailey Christiansen


David Smoot, 34, of Plattsburgh voted for Trump in the last election — a choice he said wasn’t as difficult to make as it is now. With the COVID-19 pandemic emerging, the United States engaging itself in multiple wars overseas and Trump facing criminal prosecution, Smoot isn’t sure he’ll vote for Trump again.

“Trump’s changed,” Smoot said. “With everything that’s come out, it’s very hard to give him a vote.”

However, Smoot is firmly against Biden taking office again, namely due to his behavior, which Smoot considers signs of dementia rendering him unable to single-handedly lead a country.

“Trump doesn’t show signs of dementia,” Smoot said. “He can go out and say what he needs to say off the top of his head. I don’t ever use age (as an argument) — I go by what’s happening physically. … Biden could be 60 and I still wouldn’t want him in office.”

Smoot said Biden should have sat the election out.

“If he really cared about the citizens of this country, that’s what he would do,” Smoot said.

Smoot said the biggest issues in the U.S. have to do with taking care of citizens. He sees drugs and homelessness as big issues. Smoot himself experienced getting “kicked off” Medicaid when COVID stopped being a public health emergency, one of at least 4 million Americans. Smoot has a 10-year-old child to take care of.

“I don’t find it so great to live here anymore,” Smoot said. “Canada’s more promising. Other countries take care of you. … It’s hard to make a decision. It kind of just makes you want to move.”

Smoot was wary about voting for Trump when he first started running for president.

“He seemed crazy at first, but he at least sounded convincing,” Smoot said.

Smoot is also critical about the way Trump talks about women. However, he noted that most presidents have done problematic things, and it was a matter of deciding whether their words and actions are worth looking past.

Additionally, Smoot commented on the way Trump voters are perceived.

“I’m not no redneck hillbilly that they think people who vote for him are,” Smoot said.


David Smoot



In the previous election, Christiansen and Hetfield went to great lengths to cast their votes when they were in college. They also encourage their partners to vote.

Hetfield didn’t receive the mail-in ballot she requested, so she drove home to vote.

“It’s our right as citizens to participate,” Hetfield said. “You have to play an active role in order to see the change you want. … It’s some of the only things we can do as just everyday citizens to help change things.”

Christiansen went through multiple offices to be able to vote when she forgot to change her address away from home. After Christiansen voted in Rochester, New York, she participated in the tradition of voters placing their “I voted” stickers on the grave of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony.

“Especially with the amount of fighting that women did so we could have the right to vote, I’ll never take it for granted, even when it feels frustrating,” Christiansen said. “It’s important to at least try.”


Olivia Hetfield

1 Comment

  1. Super-fast money-making internet job that will fill your bank account with cash every week. I made $17529 in my last month by working for only 2 hours a day after graduation. I had no prior experience when I started this and made $11854 in my first month. This work is very simple to execute and provides a steady inmle. Do you want to be a part of this right now? For further information, go to this website.


Comments are closed.

- Advertisment -spot_img