17-year-olds vote in Ohio’s primary

Every vote counts: Young voters have more influence than they think

By the Pulse staff

A new lawsuit in Ohio claims that 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election should be able to vote in the primary election even if they are not yet 18.

An interesting sign that at least some young voters – or “would-be” voters – are interested in the 2016 presidential election. However, that’s not the case in general.

In fact, according to a report published by Thom File, the author of Young-Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964–2012 for the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds voting in presidential elections dropped 12.9 percent from 1964 to 2012.

“Overall, America’s youngest voters have moved toward less engagement over time, as 18-through 24-year-olds’ voting rates dropped from 50.9 percent in 1964 to 38.0 percent in 2012,” said File.

Scott Light, a political reporter and anchor for WBNS 10 TV in Columbus, Ohio, says it’s fairly easy for college age students to get information about candidates.

“We live in an instantaneous world where information is readily available on anything, any person and any issue,” said Light. “Unfortunately, not enough young people take advantage of it.”

What keeps young voters from the polls it what keeps many people from the polls.

“I think it’s easy for anyone to get turned off from negative ads to debates that turn into circuses,” said Light.

He says some young voters have a hard time following all the events that happen and do not pay attention because they feel that they do not matter when it comes to voting.

“People have a cavalier attitude about voting; ‘my vote really won’t make a difference,’” said Light.

The historical 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore proved that one vote really does count as the country watched as Florida poll workers recount in several counties by hand. The state ultimately went to Bush.

“Every vote counts,” Light said, “We all need to participate, preserve and appreciate the electoral system we have.”

In two student voter forums on UFTV this spring, University of Findlay students discussed the issues and the candidates. Several participants said they looked at character and the candidates’ stance on certain issues such as education, immigration, and foreign policy.

USA Today published results last January of a “Rock the Vote” poll that states millennials, those 35 and younger, are interested in topics such as converting to renewable energy, requiring every gun buyer to undergo a background check, they endorse accepting refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria, as well as police officers wearing body cameras.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos, was of 1,141 adults, ages 18 through 34 with a margin of error plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The poll found the top issue is the economy, including concerns about jobs, the minimum wage, and paid leave.

In general the poll shows younger voters are “more pragmatic than ideological and not yet firmly aligned with either political party,” according to USA Today.

USAToday.com offers a candidate match function to allow people to find out which candidate they align with on the issues.


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