It's easy to complain about what's going on in our country and our state. But it takes effort to do something about it.
Millennials have a negative reputation for talking a big game but not backing it up with effort. And while that negative connotation is both inaccurate and cyclical, there is one negative stereotype that millennials should be concerned with shaking: they don't vote, at least not nearly as much as their parents and grandparents.
According to the Pew Research Center, baby boomers reached their peak voting population in 2004 and in 2016, they still made up the largest percentage of the electorate: 48 million voters. In the 2016 presidential election, roughly 70 percent of eligible Baby Boomers voted, compared to only 50 percent of eligible Millennials.
Eligible Millennials and Generation X voters now outnumber older generations -- the Silent Generation, Greatest Generation and boomers -- but Millennials have been slower to ramp up voter participation than earlier generations. That could change this year, or at least move in a better direction. And that's something everyone should be rooting for, because our form of government only operates effectively when its leaders are selected by an informed and engaged electorate.
In Oklahoma, the Nov. 6 elections seem to have a lot of energy around them for midterms. That's certainly due, in part, to what's happening at the federal level. But state issues and the high number of contested state offices have been driving Oklahomans to register to vote in droves: more than 75,000 Oklahomans registered to vote through the first nine months of the year, and that number will be much larger after Friday's deadline.
If Oklahomans learned anything from the teacher walkout, it's that statewide change is possible, even if it takes tremendous effort (and a lot of new legislators). The lineup of leaders we'll select on November will have a profound impact on the future of our state. It's vitally important those decisions are informed decisions.
Now that you've registered to vote, make sure you get out and vote. The future of our state and our country depends on it.