With Midterm elections around the corner, students and local vote organizers are pleading for young people to take action.
“It’s their voice, it’s the way to have an impact on our country and our government,” said Marianne Matthews of the Dane County League of Women Voters.
“There’s examples around the world where people don’t have a voice in what the government does, so we definitely be grateful that we have that,” said Josue Velasquez, a student at UW-Madison.
But not everyone shares these sentiments about voting. According to information from the Big Ten voting challenge, Wisconsin students voted below the national average during the 2016 presidential election.
No one knows for sure why the voter turnout was down in 2016, but people are optimistic that it can change this time.
“I know it might not be as trendy, but it is something that I think is really important for us to all do, despite our beliefs, especially now because everything’s getting a little polarized,” said Amina Barre, a student at UW-Madison.
2016’s low turnout can’t be changed, but it can be explained. One expert at Wisconsin is now trying to make sense of what kept young people at home.
“The research on young people is that they don’t rank it as—they don’t see it as important as maybe some other activities.”
According to Professor Marquez, many students are open to voting but are often deterred by the work that voting requires.
“Flyers don’t work, robocalls don’t work, personal calls work a little bit, but what works the best is just a personal communication with somebody reminding you that you’ve got to go vote.”