Young Voters Skip Polls

7 years 1 month 1 week ago Wednesday, November 03 2010 Nov 3, 2010 Wednesday, November 03, 2010 1:08:21 AM CDT November 03, 2010 in News
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COLUMBIA - Voters under 30 are half as likely to vote as older voters in mid-term elections. Experts say that's because there is no celebrity excitement like in a presidential election year. This could spell trouble for Democratic candidates, who usually rely on younger voters.

Mitchell McKinney is a Communications Professor at the University of Missouri.  He said the reason young voters don't come out is a combination of factors.

"These people under thirty may be moving once a year or two, they may not know who they want to vote for, or even where to vote."

There are far fewer voters in mid-term election years than in presidential election years.  This trend is even more pronounced among young voters, where the number of people at the polls can be as little as half the number who voted in the preceeding presidential election.

"There's no real spotlight like there is in presidential election years," McKinney said. 

This trend hurts Democratic candidates more than Republicans.  In 2006, young voters cast their ballots for Democrats 58 percent of the time. That year, Republicans only received votes from 36 percent of people under the age of 30.

Brennen Unnerstall is a Senior majoring in Psychology at the University of Columbia. A registered Republican, he made sure to vote this year. 

"I actually had to convince some people to vote this year.  Last time there was a lot of excitement for Obama, some of my friends voted for him."

Unnerstall said he thinks some of his peers were unaware of the election. 

"I didn't see any commercials saying 'go out and vote' until like a week ago," Unnerstall said. He added, "There's just not as much excitement this time around."

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