I would argue that Election Day should be celebrated as a joyous occasion. What could be a happier event than getting to participate directly in the democratic process? Most college students can attest to the fact that something is a chore if it does not include alcohol or free food, so I think it is time to make the electoral process more appealing to millennials. Voting is an important right that our generation must not take for granted. Assuming you are a landed white male, which I am guessing most college students are not, then realize that someone, not so long ago, fought hard for you to exercise your right vote.
The absentee ballot process is enough to make students feel disenfranchised. If the system worked seamlessly, our socially responsible parents could harass us until we send the request for a ballot. Things like the mail, and stamps, and anything not on a computer seem to confuse us -- so the process appears tedious. Plus, somehow it became a rumor that absentee ballots are seldom counted, which makes millennial voter apathy skyrocket. In order to combat indifference, try some of these practical measures on campus to incentivize your peers to turn out and turn up:
1. Registration Drives
This is the first step to increasing millennial participation but sounds like it has the potential to be boring, right? Not if you entice participants with food! Whether you a member of College Democrats/Republicans or write for a political review, host a registration drive about a month before Election Day. Give out candy, promote your organization to incoming students, and perform a needed civic duty.
2. Analogize Election Day to sports
College students love to play with money they do not have, so try to organize a fantasy politics league alongside the football one you are already in. Instead of gambling with money, use the aforementioned candy as currency and place your bets on your favorite candidates. This will guarantee that millennials are watching the polls. I do not condone gambling, but maybe the act can mirror the actual implications your of participation in democracy.
3. Partner with local businesses
You know those 'I Voted' stickers they hand you after you cast your ballot? Work with a socially conscious bar to get happy hour pricing all night for patrons proudly wearing their stickers. Apathy will go down as the club goes up on a Tuesday.
4. Election Day Parties
Work with dorm RA's to organize a viewing party to watch the votes roll in. Whether students identify with the Republican or Democratic Party- they can find bipartisanship in a pizza party. I went to one of these at my school during the 2012 Elections and people were cheering and/or crying by the end of the night.
5. Use technology to your advantage
Millennials use apps to share pictures, check bank statements, and even order Taco Bell. Encouraging your friends to download apps, such as Rock the Vote which helps find polling locations, can demystify the voting process. There are countless websites and resources dedicated to elections. You can even take online quizzes to determine your political ideology. Millennials love quizzes almost as much as they love pizza.
As Millennial favorite Hillary Clinton eloquently put it, "Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process." As college students and young adults, we also have a moral obligation celebrate as much as possible. So in other words, turn up for Election Day because we have the power to make politics pretty fun.