Photo by Lauren Leatherman. Voters who don’t want to wait until Election Day can choose to vote by mail or take part in early voting, which begins Oct. 26 in Maryland.

FCC’s Student Government Association Encourages Youth Turnout in 2020 Election

Young people ages 18 to 29 are expected to turn out in larger numbers this election year, according to Frederick Community College campus political experts.

U.S. Census Bureau data from the two previous midterm elections shows that 18 to 29-year-old voters were 20 percent of the electorate in 2014. Their participation increased to a whopping 36 percent in 2018. This was the largest percentage point increase for any age group – a 79 percent jump.

A number of factors could keep that trend going in this election. I discussed many of them with Dean of Liberal Arts and Professor of American Government at Frederick Community College (FCC), Brian Stipelman. 

Stipelman explained, “Donald Trump is extremely unpopular as a president, and there is a lot of energy among younger voters to get him out of office.” Other contributing issues, like racial injustice, climate change, and reducing college debt are some of the driving forces causing young people to vote.

Stipelman encouraged young voters to take the initiative to get out and vote in local, state, and national elections. “Political leaders tend to ignore the causes and concerns of the people who don’t vote because they do not necessarily need to please that constituency,” he said.

In other words, if young people want their concerns on the map, voting is one of the best ways to go about doing it. “The younger demographic is going to have to live with these changes and should be ideally shaping those changes, otherwise we’re surrendering decision-making authority,” said Stipelman.

Civic engagement starts on the local level. I spoke with Emma Wachter, president of the largest club on FCC’s campus, the Student Government Association (SGA). 

Her club hopes to set a welcoming environment for the student body to be involved in student government. “We are always tossing around ideas for how we can have open discussion forums or question and answer scenarios where people can share their thoughts and comments,” Wachter said. She is making sure that students have a forum and a platform for their voices to be heard, whether through Zoom meetings or social media. 

Wachter emphasized the importance of knowing deadlines to register and especially this year, participate in mail in voting. “I think raising awareness and having information readily available so people can access it easily is key”, said Wachter about voting information. 

One of the SGA’s critical goals for the 2020-21 school year is developing a communication plan to better inform students and the administration about upcoming events, announcements, and opportunities.

Whether you are young or old, political experts suggest you make your voice heard by participating in the democratic process and carrying out your civic duty. Although voting looks a little different this year, be sure to mail in your ballot or show up in person at your local polling station, wearing a mask of course. 

Request mail-in ballots by Oct. 20. Early voting is Oct. 26 through Nov. 2, the day before Election Day. For updated and accurate information on your legislatures, voting districts, and upcoming elections visit the Frederick County Board of Elections website at

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