In the greater Philadelphia area, fewer than 20% of youth who will turn 18 by Election Day are registered to vote. With the midterm election less than one month away, more youth participation is essential to increase the city and country’s overall voter turnout.
Raising the number of people that vote in each election means better representation, more funding to communities, and an overall improvement in quality of life. The youth vote is incredibly important and influential when it comes to voter turnout. In fact, youth voters account for about half of the voting population. Participation is crucial– with issues related to healthcare, education, immigration, infrastructure, economic, all being affected by our vote. Since these issues will continue to affect our nation for years to come, use your vote as your voice and your power to make an impact.
Pennsylvania offers online voter registration and mail-in voter registration. Youth planning to register must be at least 18 years old on the day of the election, including being a U.S. citizen and Pennsylvania resident of at least one month. With October 24th, the deadline to register, approaching for the November 8th election day, it is essential that youths take the first steps to qualify to vote and meet the registration deadline.
If the online application does not suit your needs, you can also fill out a physical registration and then mail it to your local registration office (in Philadelphia, this is the Philadelphia County Board of Elections at 142 City Hall on 1400 JFK Blvd). Despite having an alternative to the online registration, virtual registrations are generally regarded as the easiest method for teen voters and can be filled out in less than 2 minutes!
If you are unable to vote in person this election, that does not mean you cannot vote! Mail and absentee ballots may be requested by 5PM on November 1st and must be returned by November 8th to allow you to vote without being present at your polling place on election day.
As a first-time voter, it is important to make an informed decision. After registering to fill out the ballot once the state election rolls around November 8th, be sure to research candidates for office, including political parties and ballot initiatives. Consulting nonpartisan online resources will provide you with a comprehensive look at election candidates’ backgrounds and stances on policies.
If you are looking for further ways to get involved in this election, remember that 17- and 18-year-olds can work the polls as clerks, machine operators, and language interpreters. In this position, you will have the ability to learn about civic engagement first hand and will be able to positively impact your community and city! Teens (and adults) can apply here.
Although young people have voted at lower rates than adults, there have been major increases in youth voter turnout in recent years. Use your voice and the power of the youth vote to contribute to our communities by registering today!