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Low voter turnout for younger generations study finds

Posted: 6:12 PM, Oct 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-02 23:12:34Z

For most United States citizens, they see voting as a civic duty. However, one group of voters isn't turning out to the polls the way that they should be.

University of Nebraska Omaha political science professor Paul Landow said that there are many factors as to why the age group of 18 to 29-year-olds aren't voting. But he said their votes can matter more than other age groups because these decisions will affect them the longest.

Landow said when it comes to millennials and voting the rate of people aged 18 to 29 heading to the polls is alarmingly low. But he said people at that age don't always see the benefits of casting their votes. "Younger people seem to be less invested in society than people who have been around for a while, also they don't use the benefits from the government and society as much as older people," he said.

Landow said older people vote in much higher percentages because they are concerned about things like social security. According to a UNO study -- nationwide voters in the 18 to 29-year-old age range turned out at lower percentages than their peers. For example, in the 2014 election, 14% of 18 to 29-year-olds voted; while nationwide 20% of people in the same age group voted.

Landow says either way that needs to change. “We need new fresh ideas, we can't look at the ideas of people my age all the time, we need to look at younger people's ideas, 25-year-olds have a lot to offer and we need to get them to offer it,” he said.

UNO junior Garrett Monahan finds the low voter turnout for younger voters disappointing. “I know that our votes could definitely make a difference in elections,” he said. Monahan says while he always makes sure to vote he knows plenty of peers who choose not to, which he hopes changes. “Our futures are the ones being affected by the policies lawmakers make and so it really is us that should be voting,” he said.

Landow urges the younger generation to get out and vote because he says every vote matters. ”The reality is votes do matter, we see many elections that are decided by a few hundred votes or even a few dozen votes,” he said. He also adds that campaigns have tried targeting the younger generation through social media, but that concept hasn't taken off yet because it is not something most young people worry about daily.