The increased voter turnout in the 2020 election is important for promoting political engagement in the future


Talula Cedar James

2020 has seen a significant rise in voter turnout among the population compared to the 2016 election vote totals. With 66.7% of the eligible voting population participating in 2020, it increased 5.3% compared to 2016. There was also an increase from 140 million votes in 2016 to a whopping 160 million votes in 2020.

Sugaal Sheikh-Noor, Staff Writer

This year’s controversial presidential election between Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump led to the highest voter turnout in the history of the United States. In 2016, 140 million voters participated in the process of electing a new president, but after the four years under the Trump administration, 20 million more people came out to vote in 2020, bringing the total voter count up to a record number of 160 million. This occurred due to increased accessibility of voting information, and more individuals felt motivated to use their right to suffrage to influence the future of this country. 

Voting in elections in the United States is one of the most important ways to ensure your voice is heard. While voting shouldn’t necessarily be mandatory, any individual who wants a say in the state of our country should consider voting as one of their responsibilities as a citizen. “I voted in this election because there was a lot on the line and I felt like if I didn’t vote I would’ve been throwing [my vote] away”, said senior Amelia Kroesch.

Voting is vital in making sure candidates that reflect the beliefs of the people are elected into office to govern with everyone’s best interests in mind. The United States is far from perfect and the large quantity of social and economic issues are often what prompts Americans to exercise their right to vote. Voting can be used as a method towards alleviating those problems by voting for someone that has a solution at the forefront of their campaign. “My vote is for my ideas of how I want the government to handle the current climate of society for everybody and not just for me.”, said senior Fredrick Emdin.

A vote you cast in an election is not only representative of you, but the community that surrounds you. For instance, voting in your state and local government elections is the only way to ensure that problems you and your community face are the number one focus. Right now where issues relating to climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economy are prominent, voting is an important way to address the issues that affect our society the most. “I feel exercising my right to vote is mandatory because I have to vote not just for me, but for everyone else,” said Emdin.

The reason many individuals don’t vote is because they feel their vote doesn’t count or they don’t resonate with the candidates up for election. I say that voting in a presidential election is one of the most significant ways you can participate in our democracy. Voting in an election plays a role in the presidential outcome, but also determines your state Senators, who represents your congressional district, and state education officials. A couple thousand votes are enough to sway an election that could decide how your state is run. “I do think that some folks conscientiously refuse to vote because they simply disagree with the choices that are put in front of them,” said history teacher Eric Fleming.

As for the recent 2020 election, voter turnout drastically increased compared to previous presidential elections. This can be accredited to the mail-in-ballots that were widely used due to the pandemic, and the abundance of information on how to participate in the democratic process. “With the Covid pandemic, people who wanted to vote received a lot of information about voting early and voting by mail, so they wouldn’t have to wait in lines and risk potential infection,” said Fleming.

Raising awareness through the media about mail-in-ballots and how to vote was influential in prompting people to take initiative to make their voice count during this election season. “Every single day since early voting began, I was told to vote. Every celebrity was telling me to vote, every song I was listening to was telling me to vote. Even when you go outside you’re seeing ‘Go Vote’ signs, hearing people telling me to vote on the radio. The media definitely encouraged people to vote and without it, I don’t think as many people would have,” expressed Emdin. 

Another crucial method to encourage larger voter turnouts is informing younger generations on the importance of voting throughout their entire educational career. Schools should be taking an extensive approach in motivating students to vote by providing a strong understanding of the democratic process and the electoral college. “Some things I missed out on earlier in high school were topics related to voting. Learning about how everything works and talking about voting before you can actually vote would be a huge push [to vote] for younger students,” said Kroesch.

I highly encourage younger generations to be more aware about our political and democratic processes. Our education system should do more to motivate students to partake in elections to increase turnout among youth. More information on politics and voting leads to students making more informed decisions that would only benefit the population further. “When I was a sophomore, if I had more information about the political process, I believe I would have a stronger understanding about voting and why it’s so important. I would be doing way more in my community if I was more aware about voting and how important it is to vote for your community,” said Emdin.

When voting, It’s best to analyze all of your given options, and research candidates to see who best represents your viewpoints. “I encourage you and others around you to know the facts and do the research because if you do, you’re going to be better informed and consider your choices while voting in a more informed way”, said Fleming.

This election has highlighted the engagement of the American population regarding our massive turnout. Millions of Americans were driven to take part in the 2020 election in the midst of a global pandemic. Capitalizing on this engagement is important for increasing voter turnout in future elections among the entire American population.

Be sure to visit to register to vote in  future elections in Minnesota.