Mike Brown Can't Vote. But You Can

October 1st 2014

Alece Oxendine

Mike Brown was 18 years old before he died, which means he would have been able to vote in his first major election this year. In his home state of Missouri, the average youth voter turnout in the 2010 midterm elections was 23.7%, which is on par with the national average of 24%. Historically our generation doesn't vote in non-presidential elections, but midterm elections are just as important, especially on the state level. If I were canvassing in Missouri and met Mike Brown, what would I encourage him to vote for?

Reform drug policies
The War on Drugs has been detrimental to young black men like Mike Brown. Young black men are disproportionately more likely to be arrested on minor drug charges. In fact black people in America only make-up 14% of drug users but 37% of those arrested for drug offensesI would encourage Mike to vote to reform drug policies such as decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating unnecessary drug testing. Colorado is a leading example.

Denver Marijuana

Help end racial profiling

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Justice Statistics, black drivers are twice as likely as white drivers to be arrested during a traffic stop. A 2005 study from Florida State University also found that white police officers "were statistically more likely to let armed white suspects slip while shooting unarmed black suspects." There is also federal legislation to help curb racist policing practices. The End Racial Profiling Act, sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (MI) and Senator Ben Cardin (MD), would train federal law enforcement officials on racial profiling issues, collect data on all investigative activities of the Department of Justice, and require the attorney general to make periodic reports assessing the nature of discriminatory policing in America.

Racial Profiling

Reform student loan debt 

Since Mike Brown was about to start school at a for-profit college, I would tell him to vote for student loan reform. The likelihood that he'd not graduate and be in debt is very, very high. Because of this, voting for make college more affordable and debt more manageable should be high on any young voter's list. I would tell Mike Brown about Senator Elizabeth Warren who is fighting to lower interest rates on student loan payments.

For Profit College

Of course, these are just three of the many issues facing young voters today. Mike Brown's vote would have mattered had he not been killed. And your vote matters too. Do what he couldn't do. Vote. REGISTER TO VOTE NOW

Need another reason to vote? The Youth Vote: 10 Reasons it Matters Even More Than You Think