Millennials have a serious voting problem.
Even though their group (anyone born between 1981 and 1996) represents the largest bloc of eligible voters, they just don’t show up at the polls. According to Pew Research Center, only 51% of millennials voted in the 2016 presidential election, compared to Gen X (63%), baby boomers (69%), and the silent generation (70%).
In an effort to spark some excitement around this year’s midterm elections, creative studio Gold Front has created The Museum of Voting, “a one-day-only, insanely Instagrammable pop-up experience,” i.e., just your local polling station.
Gold Front aims to reframe the voting experience by highlighting all the millennial-friendly aspects of it, which, apparently are just selfies and stickers.
To be honest, the trope of the vain and self-absorbed millennial is stale. There are some rather cringey moments in the campaign’s video, like one millennial assuring another millennial that he can DJ at the polling station. Yes, millennials are an important part of the electorate. And yes, they should definitely exercise their civic duty more often. But The Museum of Voting is low-key insulting. What the campaign does get right is calling out voter suppression and the importance of sharing your own voting experience on social which a) really could inspire your friends to vote; and b) may be illegal so please check your state’s rules on the matter.
But Gold Front isn’t completely off the mark. New York Magazine recently published a roundup of quotes from 12 young adults who are iffy on voting in the midterms. Some of their reasons highlight problems that should definitely be addressed, like the opaqueness of certain voting processes or candidates being out of touch (while others say, “I just didn’t have the time and energy”), speak directly to the millennial demographic The Museum of Voting is targeting.
That group of millennials who are too tired or don’t know how a post office works certainly need a jolt to get them to the polls. But it’s unclear whether mildly mocking them is the way to go about it.