Hansen: We need more unaffiliated millennial voters

Wyatt Hansen

Students at Colorado State University are enthusiastic about the privilege they have to vote. Across campus, students show their pride by voting and getting involved with the election in various ways. (CTV News | Nov. 6, 2012) 

 

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Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Anger rises from both parties as millennials become increasingly upset with the two-party system and are opting to be unaffiliated. With the election coming up, it’ll be interesting to see how these unaffiliated voters, especially here in Larimer County, cast their vote.

Here at Colorado State University, many students identify as unaffiliated. Many millennials are getting away from the typical voting standards of the Democrat and Republican parties and are looking for a third party savior. Although the voter turnout for the unaffiliated is low, it is a great step for millennials in the coming elections. The best way to change political platforms is to rally the unaffiliated to vote and Larimer County is setting the standard.

Larimer County is seeing the biggest shifts in the population becoming unaffiliated. Right now, the American two-party system has “too much baggage” and bad reputations, which is why unaffiliated voter numbers are rising. The rising unaffiliated numbers are changing platforms by opening up the political sphere for new thought. It brings in the third opinion that often gets swept under the rug come election time, especially in the Presidential race.

According to the Colorado secretary of state’s office, of people aged 26-40, nearly 40 percent are unaffiliated in Colorado.  This trend gives rise to the opportunity for a third party to gain support. There has always been discussion around the need of a third party in the United States, and this unaffiliated movement helps push towards that.

According to a Quinnipiac poll, prior to the 2016 election, sixty percent of millennials said they would vote for a third party. The argument against a third-party is that it is hard to get everyone on board. This means people were hesitant voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson in 2016 simply because think they were wasting a vote. It is hard to get everyone to vote third party but things like allowing the unaffiliated to vote in primaries is a positive move for some of these third parties trying to gain support. 

Millennials are thinking outside the box and analyzing their candidates without pressure from the two-party system. 

Unaffiliated voters are helping push candidates to reconsider certain platforms in hopes of new policies and ways of thought to emerge. These young voters have become more idealistic instead of most of our parents who are resigned to the system. As these numbers rise, platforms for a third party will grow and include voters who don’t want to be characterized solely as a Democrat or Republican. This happened in the 2016 election with the popularity of socialist candidates like Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party.

Although there has been a rise in the unaffiliated numbers, there is still a concern around if their turnout in the elections. Some are still discouraged on what ballot they want to turn in causing them to not vote at all.

In Colorado, this is not the case. More people turned up for the mid-terms in June because the unaffiliated can vote in primaries now. This is a huge step for the unaffiliated here in Larimer County and for those across the country. Voter turnout still remains somewhat low, but for the unaffiliated in Colorado, the progress remains constant.  

This is the start of what millennials want to see in elections. They are thinking outside the box and analyzing their candidates without pressure from the two-party system. It creates another perspective for politics and opens the political sphere for discussion of other platforms. 

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One of the most important factors in a democracy is that of the right to vote. We as millennials are changing the voting standards by representing the unaffiliated voice. I’m not saying disregard everything and become unaffiliated but rather think for yourself and don’t let the strict platforms of both parties be the deciding factor. It starts with the future generations, and that’s what we millennials are doing; we are setting the stage for change.   

Wyatt Hansen can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @Hansolo1610