Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s time as mayor of Chicago is coming to an end and it is time for a new mayor to take his place and serve the city of Chicago, and with 14 candidates running, it was a crowded race.
Although youth voter turnout has risen within the past couple of elections, young people are still not voting in high numbers. In the 2018 midterm elections, CIRCLE, or The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, estimated that around 31 percent of people ages 18-29 voted. Even according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, the 25-34 age group cast the largest amount of votes in Chicago during the midterms. Yet, some young people still seem to be unengaged in today’s political climate.
According to Youth Services America, some young people do not vote because they do not understand how or where to vote. They claim that 20 percent of young people feel they do not know enough in order to vote. Both generations, as a whole, are known to seem apathetic when it comes to politics.
Sophomore English major Rane Kenny said she was aware that there was a mayoral election, but did not vote. Kenny said she has never voted before and feels that young people do not vote because they do not know how to. “Maybe there’s people like me. I’ve never voted, I don’t know what to do” Kenny said.
For some students who have a lack of knowledge on the candidates, it is hard for them to make an informed decision on who to vote for. With 14 candidates, many who ran on a similar platform, it could be hard to choose a candidate who promised to make the changes to the city that the voter wants.
Anthony Harmon, a senior information technology major said he did not vote in the mayoral election. Harmon said he felt that students are less inclined to vote in elections. “I feel like we are not educated enough,” Harmon said. “I really don’t know too much information about the candidates.”
The mayor of a major city such as Chicago is an important job, yet this year’s election has not garnered the same amount of attention as a Presidential election or a Congressional election.
Due to the lack of attention on the mayoral race, some students may have not felt the need to go and out and vote. The mayoral race was just not seen as important as the 2016 presidential election or the 2018 midterm elections.
Freshman international studies major Dymen Haniff said she was unable to vote in the election since she is not currently a resident of Illinois. Haniff said she believes that the mayoral race is important, but others might not think the same way since it is not a high profile election. “People just don’t think of it that way because it’s not the president,” Haniff said.
Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle were able to acquire enough votes on Feb 26 in order to cause a runoff between the two. Lightfoot earned 90,000 votes and Preckwinkle with 83,000 votes. Since neither candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in the election there will be a runoff election on April 2. No matter who wins Chicago will have its first black woman mayor. It is up to the citizens of Chicago, including young people, to choose the candidate who will best serve the city.