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Young voter turnout is up from past elections

KEZI spoke with teachers at the University of Oregon who say they are shocked by the amount of enthusiasm and participation from students for this election.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2018 7:09 PM
Updated: Nov. 7, 2018 11:54 AM

EUGENE, Ore. --- In past elections, especially midterms, young voter turnout has been low but not this year.

KEZI 9 News spoke with teachers at the University of Oregon who said they are shocked by the amount of enthusiasm and participation from students for this election.

"I definitely think there’s been a big outreach towards the university student as somebody who needs to get out and vote but also somebody who might be interested in getting out and voting and trying to touch them relate to them and understand that they’re a powerful demographic that has a voice and a voice they want to share," University of Oregon instructor Kaitlin Bane said. 

The University of Oregon has a ballot drop box, registration tables for out-of-state students and guest speakers to educate students on what each candidate is pushing for.

"There are opportunities for people to come into your classroom to encourage people to sign up to vote ... we've talked a lot about the civic right to vote the importance of it -- the impact that it can have," teacher Damian Radcliffe said. 

A spokesperson with the Associated Students of the University of Oregon told KEZI that she has never seen this many students vote in a midterm.

She said the numbers have already doubled from the last midterm election in 2014.

"I think that millennials are actually putting their vote down now because our politics are just occupying every single part of our life ... it’s over all our social media ... every single news platform, no matter where they get their news ... we're hearing about it," senior Jaycie Schenone said.

After the results of the 2014 election, some students said they now realize how much of a say they really have and because they're the largest population of voters, they must take action.

"A bunch of my friends who didn’t vote in the presidential election registered to vote for the midterms this year because they realized over this past election that the polls aren’t always correct and people aren’t going to just be elected because we think they are. We have to take the initiative and go out and vote," student Sophie Wood said. 

Students said social media plays a huge role in the shift of students' mindsets because it directly affects their demographic.

“Twitter has been a huge proponent on getting people to go out and vote as well as like Instagram creating a sticker that will show you where your nearest polling place is to try and make it easy and accessible so nobody has an excuse not to vote,” Wood said.

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