Generation Z May Be Changing the Way We Vote

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Generation Z May Be Changing the Way We Vote

Madison Casteele, Author

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SMHS held a schoolwide mock election through history classes just before the statewide election in early November. The data provided from both the mock election and state election shows marginal differences between Millennials (born in 1981-1996) and Generation Z (born in late 90s to the early 2000’s).  

First in analyzing SMHS mock election results, a trend can be seen in Gen Z voting more Independent than for one of the two main parties. Senator Joe Manchin III lost in the schoolwide mock election. What really split the two Republican and Democratic candidates was a vote of 119 out of 716 total votes to Libertarian Rusty Hollen.  

The Independent party vote also created a margin in the federal House of Representatives vote. Mooney won, but the Independent candidate got 56 out of 709, which separated the Republican and Democratic candidates even more.  

In the last couple years, Generation Z’s voting habits have proved to be different from their parents. In the 2000 presidential election, there were only 2,882,955 votes for Ralph Nader (Green Party). However, in the 2016 presidential election there were three Third Party candidates running. Gary Johnson, Independent, got 4,488,931.  

This is a common trend with older Millennials and Gen Z voters. A poll from NBC News saw that 71% of Millennials think a third party is needed, and 63% of Millennials disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job. This may be due to growing evidence of corruption in the Republican and Democratic parties. Generation Z has seen more of an increase of Independent voters, and more of a drive to vote for issues over party.   

In the State election, West Virginia saw similar results in the rest of the election but saw a difference in the Senator results. In the State election, Joe Manchin III won. Losing in the mock election might have shown a disconnect with younger voters and a lack of trust between the two. Joe Manchin III is a registered Democrat, but his votes tend to lean Republican. The younger voters could be losing trust with Manchin and choosing to vote for someone who is more straightforward with his beliefs.  

Something that was similar in both elections was the voting for Amendment 1. Amendment 1 was an addition to the West Virginia Constitution stating that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” In the mock election and the state election, voters passed the Amendment. A similar amendment passed in Alabama with 59% of voters saying yes to the Amendment.  

So why is Generation Z voting more for Third Party candidates but siding with parents and other Millennials on separate issues? There’s some evidence that this could be due to a parental influence. Parents can sway children’s future political and personal beliefs from a very young age. In Coral Springs, Florida two parents are raising their kids to be incredibly liberal and atheist. On the opposite side of the spectrum, John Wilder was raised to be conservative, religious, and pro-life. The reason parents have so much influence on children’s actions and beliefs is because children are around them much of the time.  

It’s evidenced that in households which hold back on political discussions that the children grow up to find their own beliefs. But in houses where parents are essentially forcing their practices on their own children, it’s harder for them to grow out of those thoughts because the parents will often get angry with them.  

There’s strong evidence that Generation Z could be changing the way our quiet and possibly corrupt Government runs. They’re voting more for Third Parties than ever, and they’re voting more over issues than for a party name. If some parents would stop controlling their children’s minds, we may see a bigger increase in children having their own political standpoints which can lead to a change this country is desperately needing.