This generation is missing an important opportunity to impact politics through voting

Republican primary frontmen Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum split Michigan’s 30 delegates in Tuesday’s primary, but as important as the results is the disappointing voter turnout

A mere 13.7 percent, or 997,072, of Michigan’s almost 7.3 million registered voters turned out to the polls to cast their ballots for the Republican nominees, as well as multiple local elections, including the decision on controversial proposed student housing unit The Grove, which was voted down by Allendale residents. In Kent County, only about 10 percent of voters came out to the polls.

The problem with this is more than just a lack of engagement from a student perspective. It’s not uncommon to hear young people complain that politicians are out of touch with the issues that matter to our generation, yet when we fail to turn up at the polls, we don’t give our representatives any incentive to represent our desires. The only way to make officials care what we think is to vote, and if young people could band together and turn out to the polls en masse, we would be a critical voting bloc — just look at now-President Barack Obama’s success in the 2008 election, which was largely influenced by his appeal to and engagement of the youth vote.

Yes, driving out to a polling location on a Tuesday or obtaining an absentee ballot can be inconvenient for students juggling classes and work, but the results of these primaries will have a significant impact on November’s general election regardless of your party affiliation or which candidate you support. It’s cliche to say ‘a single vote can matter,’ because sometimes, maybe it doesn’t. However, if the younger generation starts thinking of themselves as just that — an unstoppable generation, each individual part of a much greater whole — then one vote does, in fact, makes a world of difference.