Young voters discuss midterm elections

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Young voters discuss midterm elections

Ashlyn Yount and Hannah Thier discuss the importance of voting in the elections.

Ashlyn Yount and Hannah Thier discuss the importance of voting in the elections.

Ashlyn Yount and Hannah Thier discuss the importance of voting in the elections.

Ashlyn Yount and Hannah Thier discuss the importance of voting in the elections.

Ashlyn Yount and Hannah Thier

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  1.  What issues matter? Education, health care, climate change and social issues such as pro-choice or women’s reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights.

Hannah– To young voters, it seems as though all of these issues matter. They have seen the legalization of homosexual marriage. We’re currently seeing the “MeToo” movement and we’ve seen the declining number of educators. Those aren’t the only issues that matter: mental health and gun control are also on the minds of young voters these days. All of those issues are important to young voters when it comes to who represents what and what the candidates stand for.

Ashlyn– This generation has seen many major changes and historical moments, so we have witnessed both parts of the spectrum. I don’t believe that young voters want to vote because of any specific issue. There are several. Women have begun to believe that they too, can be leaders. The LGBTQ community has been given the chance to impact the minds of others. People are listening; that’s why we are voting.

  1.   Do young voters believe they can make a difference?

Hannah– More recently, young voters have found that the only way to make a difference in our state or country is to vote for those who stand with what they believe in, not just whoever their family members are voting for.

Ashlyn– I think before we, the young voters, were pressured into voting either right or left. We had to stick with our side. Now, people are listening to what these candidates have to say and respecting their opinions. I don’t want to vote for a democrat or republican. I’m voting for someone who shares my same values. This in itself is making a positive difference.

  1.     How can young people be motivated to vote?

Hannah– They can be told how much their voice matters, and how important is it to make sure to be heard.

Ashlyn– America is beginning to empower young minds and show them that their voice can be heard. By voting, this generation knows it can make a change.

  1.      What are the challenges of getting young people to the polls or for mailing in absentee ballots?

Hannah– A lot of the time people just don’t know how to go out and register to vote or do an absentee ballot. They lack the knowledge on candidates because it is not something that is talked about, it’s a taboo subject.

Ashlyn– Sometimes we may not know enough about an issue in order to voice our opinion on it. Locations of voters stations and times to vote may be unknown to younger people.

  1. The Harvard Institute of Politics today reported that up to 40% of voters under 30 plan to cast ballots in the midterms. Is that going to happen?

Hannah– Most likely, younger people have had it drilled into their heads that voting is important. Now they are taking that opportunity.

Ashlyn– If the number of votes is not going to reach that number, it will be close to it. This generation is wanting to get involved; when we see something that we don’t like, we’re working to end it.

  1.      Has low voter turnout in the past among young people caused their concerns to be ignored by politicians?

Hannah– I fully believe so. Young voters are seen as childish and immature and are often ignored by politicians. Not only is it due to the low voter turnout, but society has instilled that the older a person is the wiser they are and frankly that has gone to some people’s heads.

Ashlyn– There’s no doubt in my mind that our concerns have been ignored before. “We’re too young to understand,” so we often get pushed aside. However, when a movement like this occurs, it’s impossible to ignore the numbers.

  1.      Have traumatic events, such as mass shootings, been a factor in the increase in young voter registration?

Hannah– Yes, without a doubt. People want to know that they are protected and when they aren’t, they look to politicians. Young people have pushed past the “our voice doesn’t matter” mindset, and they want to make sure that they are safe.

Ashlyn– Yes, of course! We want to be protected. If we feel unsafe, we’re not going to vote for someone we view as a “pushover.” Shootings are increasing and are a major issue. We need to hear what the candidates plans are and their views about this crisis.

  1.      Do young voters believe this is an historic moment in American History?

Hannah– I don’t think so, not currently. However, in future elections such as the presidential election, I fully believe that will be a historic moment for young voters. In their eyes, it has more of an effect on them and on the country.

Ashlyn– I believe young voters know this is a historic movement but are more concerned about current issues, such as mass shootings and education standards. We are more worried about the now and changing these issues.

  1.      Are young voters ready to stand up and be heard?

Hannah– Without a doubt! They have been taught to express themselves, to never settle for anything less than they deserve and they want to show that to the world.

Ashlyn– We have been ready! We are educated on the topics and can have informed debates and conversations about politics. It shows the older generations that we are mature enough to be heard.

  1.  Pollsters and political correspondents talk about a “youth wave” among young voters, is that going to happen?

Hannah– I believe that is currently happening. Younger people are encouraged to vote as soon as they turn 18. Older voters aren’t worried about the issues that young voters are concerned with. They have experienced life, while young voters are still going through it. Young voters are making sure that they are being heard because they are experiencing these issues and want to see change.

Ashlyn– The “youth wave” is already happening now. Listen to our conversations with our peers. The excitement and push to vote is talked about all around us.

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