Skriloff: Generation Z Must Register to Vote. And then Vote.

What follows is the speech senior Olivia Skriloff delivered at school meeting on Monday, March 26. She delivered it after showing several clips of speeches from the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, which she attended and organized a group from Northwood to attend.

Olivia Skirloff

Olivia Skriloff ’18

Last time I was up here talking to all of you I was crying in front of the entire school because I was so nervous. On Saturday a girl puked on international television because she was nervous, but she recovered from something that is undoubtedly worse, so hopefully, I can recover from that.

This past weekend, I participated in the “March for our Lives”, A student-run and organized protest, marching for gun control reform. And while I know that some of you fall on the other side of the spectrum on this issue there was another overarching message that I believe we can all get behind

We can be a generation of change. We have the power to. Generation Z, our generation, is defined as those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000’s and we make up 25% of the population, This outnumbers the baby boomer generation, the generation that most of our US Senators and Members of Congress are apart of. Our cohort also grew up in an era of technology, We are tech natives, at the tip of our fingers we have access to more information than any generation that came before us. But if we want to make change, we are going to have to use all that is at our disposal to do so, That includes voting.

There is an election coming up The 2018 primary election takes place on November 6, 2018. There are 35 Senate seats up in 2018, of which 26 are held by Democrats. Democrats need to gain only 2 seats to take control of the Senate. Additionally, all seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs with 218 seats needed for party control with the Democrats at 192 and the Republicans at 238. This makes it so that the Democrats only need 20 seats flipped to take control of the House, So whether you want to keep the current power balance or you want to change it, You need to vote.

Only 36.4% of eligible voters voted in the last midterm elections and for the demographic of 18-25-year-olds that number was closer to 19% but I want to look at a hypothetical election assuming the national average for all states. Let’s say that Kylie Jenner beat Drake in this election with 61% of the vote that is a huge margin but let’s take a look at the numbers if only 36.4% of the population voted then 61% of 36% is only 22%. That means that less than a quarter of this state’s population actually voted for their new senator. These numbers brew discontent.

Another reason people don’t usually vote is that they think their vote doesn’t matter, But it does. In the most recent special election in Pennsylvania, Connor Lamb, a Democrat, beat Rick Saccone, a Republican, by only 641 votes. It was super close. Bills are passing in the Senate by one vote, If anything, your vote matters more now than it ever has before.

To register, You must be a US citizen, be 18 years old on or by Election Day November 6th, and not be a felon.

So now the final thing I’m gonna talk about is how to register:

  • Most states allow you to register online at http://www.vote.gov
  • All states allow you to mail in your voter registration form, which can be found by searching: “mail voter registration form”
  • In 33 states you can register before you are 18 more details can be found at http://usa.gov/voter-registration

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