Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Less than half of voters under 25 turnout to vote

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Less than half of voters under 25 turnout to vote
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Less than half of people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the last presidential election. And that was an uptick from previous years. Our Katie Gibas tells us why younger people aren't heading to the polls.

UNITED STATES -- One of the most exciting things about turning 18 is that you are now an adult. And that means you can vote. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than half of 18 to 24 year olds exercised that right in the 2008 presidential election. Political scientists say that trend isn't anything new.

"It's an effect that kind of goes through each generation as they age," said Grant Reeher, a Political Science Professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School.

In September, there were massive efforts on high school and college campuses across the country to register students to vote. At Syracuse University, student volunteers registered about 200 new voters. Despite the push, people under the age of 30 are still less likely to vote. Political scientists say young adults are less likely to be rooted in a specific community, own property and have children, all of which are driving forces that bring people to the polls.

"Those are things that really tend to focus your attention on local governmental issues because you're paying property taxes, because you have concerns about the value of your home, because you have concerns about the schools and quality of education, all things that connect you to the political system. And they're all things that make you more interested and more invested in that political system," said Reeher.

Even though fewer young people are voting, political scientists say they don't think it will lead to a major decline in voter turnout.

"If we saw younger adults' participation rates and voting rates were plummeting relative to those other groups and relative to their own past performance, then I think we would be in a situation where we start talking about being very worried for the future," said Reeher.

Stats show some encouraging news. The people who track voter turnout say the one growth area in politics is among the young, who have increased turnout in each presidential cycle since the year 2000.

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