• May 28th, 2020

The relevance of young voters in an independent country

Sibuku Malumbano

Young voters notoriously neglect the importance of voting, but their voice is an important one on both sides of the coin. Key issues in every election increasingly relate to the concerns of students and professionals between the ages of 18 and 29, making it essential for members within that age group to educate themselves on political issues and take to the polls. 

Why is it important to vote, especially if you fall within a crucial age demographic? Below are some of the most compelling reasons that young voters are needed more than ever in local, regional and national elections.

Young voters account for half of the voting population, making them a powerful political force, the youth vote has the potential to be extremely influential in this country.

Yet older Namibians are more likely to vote, while young people make up a large portion, the voting-eligible population, they are much less likely than those who are older to get out and vote.
Every vote counts, many people cite feeling as though their vote doesn’t count as their reason for not participating in election.

Young people are hit hardest by the great recession, lack of financial resources, college debts, university debt and lack of job dealt some of the most crippling blows to the financial futures of many young voters after the great recessions. The situation won’t be changed by sitting idle while others make major political decisions. Young voters who want to inspire change need to show their support for the candidates whom they feel best represent their needs. No one else is going to vote in the interest of young people except young people

Young voters are an incredibly diverse group, the divisive nature of partisan politics is alive and well among young voters in today’s world. So much so that the millennial electorate is expected to be the first demographic group with the ability to challenge the basic two-thirds majority, potentially driving the need for alternative political parties whom millennial feel can represent the needs of a diverse population through a more inclusive agenda.

Young people need to connect with politics early on, participation in politics is hard won right in our nation. Some experts argue that young Namibians with such potential for affecting political change don’t exercise the right to vote as often as they should. Many even suggest that the voting age should be lowered in an effort to promote earlier voting among teenagers and young adults. Building a relationship with the political process as early as possible is key to making voting a lifelong habit, you may already be familiar with the phrase “vote early, vote often” if you are historically a repeat voter, you are much less likely to skip a trip to the polls in the future. This sort of habit forming participation is key to driving policy and electing leaders who represent the needs of voters of all ages.

It’s easier than ever to be an educated voter, in today’s technological advanced world, there’s no excuse not to vote because you don’t know enough about the candidate. In fact, one might find it harder to escape day to day political news than subscribe to it. In an era in which Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp is preferred means of communication for the candidates, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat have become as crucial as the candidates own website for disseminating information about relevant issues. As this type of civic education in everything is typical for most Namibians today, it is just beneficial in the months leading up the election but also on a day-to-day basis. The current online climate allows young voters to form a fuller picture of the candidates and their platforms in a medium they are familiar with.

The youth vote can sway the election, as mentioned before, your vote does matter, so much so that the collective “youth vote” could actually sway the election. 

You may not care now, but you might in some years to come, you may feel that choosing a president or members of parliament or councillors just isn’t something that affects your life right now. You might not yet be struggling with issues like university debt, health service bills, finding a full-time job. A broken system brings many challenges, adulthood brings many new challenges, like marriage, buying a house, paying for your own health insurance, starting a business, all of which could radically change your perspective on political issues.

While you can’t predict who or where you will be in five years, you can be sure that the political officials elected into office and the policies they implement will impact your life in the coming months and years. Why not have a say? Speak up, make a choice, and take part in the election to protect your interests in your first few years in the real world.

Let’s flood all the polling station come 27 November 2019 and equally next year during local and regional elections.

Sibuku Malumbano
*Aspiring Independent Regional Councillor Candidate 2020
Sibbinda Constituency

Staff Reporter
2019-10-25 08:15:13 | 7 months ago

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