Appeal of voting increases for young adults, survey says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — National data shows more young people are turning out to vote. 

Nyree Modisette, a 22-year-old Butler University senior, voted Monday after class. “I believe it’s my civic duty. I believe it’s very important to participate somehow, in this election.” 

She’s not alone. 

New data from Harvard University’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics shows 40 percent of surveyed adults under age 30 said they “will definitely vote” in the midterms. That’s up from 2010 and 2014. 

Victoria Comes, 20, is voting for the first time in a mid-term election. “Usually, Indiana’s not in the news for a lot of races. A lot of people have been focused, on a national scale, on this (U.S.) Senate race in Indiana. So, it’s exciting to be able to cast a vote toward that.” 

Greg Shufeldt, an assistant political science professor at Butler, has his own thoughts on what’s behind the the millennial voter surge. “I think it’s easy to point to President Trump, whether you like him or dislike him. He’s a polarizing figure, which has probably got more people interested in politics.” 

Shufeldt also said more early-voting centers makes balloting easier. “Young people are demonstrating they’re a little more engaged, a little more excited. There’s a a lot of enthusiasm with young voters right now.” 

As far as why millennials are getting out to vote, Kristina Horn Sheeler, executive associate dean of the Honors College and professor of communication studies at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis, offered her own reasons behind the uptick. “They believe they can create change. They see evidence of activism from young people making a difference, such as the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, speaking out in favor of gun law reform.” 

“They see young candidates with whom they identify running for office, such as 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a longtime incumbent in the primary in New York,” Sheeler said. “The 2016 presidential election, millennials are motivated in support of Bernie Sanders support of progressive policies and in reaction to Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric. Millennials are the generation most likely to identify as Democratic, according to the Pew Research Center.”

Tosin Bolarin, a 22-year-old voter, said, “It’s like a civic duty right? The whole point of Democracy is everyone gets a say.” 

Some students, at IUPUI and Butler said, for their own reasons, they are not voting.

Chelsea Heise, a 20-year-old who is not voting, said, “I don’t really care.” 

Christian Pareja, a 19-year-old, said “I don’t feel like my voice would be a good one to have counted because I haven’t really kept up and don’t have proper knowledge of the people running for this election.” 

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