In a Now This exclusive, Obama shares the importance of voting while speaking to students at the University of Illinois, especially during midterm elections. Youth are concerned about the future of our government and Obama does not want us to be discouraged by this but tells youth to step up and vote. He stresses that in order for a change to be made, it is necessary that youth see the importance of every election taking place.
“We are in an urgent time. We have seen basic norms and principles that have served us well for decades increasingly violated, not to mention policies that have further skewed towards the wealthy and powerful,” said Obama.
Obama reminds the audience that when young people eligible to vote do not vote, there is a major lack of representation for a majority of the people in the United States. A lack of representation for a concern in climate change, college tuition, the #MeToo movement and criminal justice reform.
“Things happen because you have not just a president, but a congress, and a state legislature, and governors, and a whole host of elective officials who are constantly determining whether or not our criminal justice system is treating everybody fairly or whether or not workplace discrimination laws and equal pay laws for women are being enforced and is determining whether or not we are protecting that lake or that stream from pollution. That power is dispersed across levels of government, and a lot of times young people are only interested when it is a presidential race,” said Obama.
Obama states that the only check on the unprecedented behavior that violates norms that in the past have been observed by both democrats and republicans” will be by voting and electing honest government officials who are concerned about the ideals of America into office.