Democrats are already worried about turnout this November, particularly because polling shows that the youngest voters – college students in particular – are the least enthusiastic and the least likely to show up at the polls. That gap extends up through the age bracket of the youngest millennials but mostly focuses on what’s now being called Generation Z. In Virginia, however, it appears that enthusiasm isn’t the only problem they have. Young voters there are complaining that they can’t mail in their absentee ballots. Why? Because many of them can’t figure out where and how to purchase stamps to send snail mail. (Business Insider)
Democrats are counting on Generation Z, many of whom recently gained the right to vote, to help turn Congress blue in the midterm elections.
But 49 cents may be all it takes to keep these post-Millennials from exercising their civic duty.
On Tuesday, a Fairfax County, Virginia official said they are noticing a disturbing trend: young people failing to mail in their absentee ballots because they don’t know how to get a stamp.
The Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs organized some focus group work to determine what the youth vote turnout problem was and see how they could help address it. Rather than apathy or a lack of faith in the electoral system, they were surprised to learn that students “go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps.”
The spokesperson for the Office of Public Affairs described this as “a hump they can’t seem to get across.”
I get that young people today rely on their phones for almost everything and don’t do much in the way of snail mail. It’s similar to the way the next generation is largely unable to tell time by looking at a clock with hands on it. But are stamps that much of a challenge? Even if you only know how to do things through your mobile devices, you can order stamps from the USPS website. For that matter, you can buy them at Walmart and most other large retailers. And I’m pretty sure that every zip code in the country still has a physical post office, right? I mean, you may not have any reason to go there on a day to day basis, but surely these students are aware that post offices exist, aren’t they?
I would rather believe that the students contacted for this focus group were just pulling the leg of the research team. But if not, and you honestly can’t master the mystery of how to obtain a stamp, should you really be voting to determine who our next set of elected officials will be?