Young, eligible and unregistered: With midterms approaching, why some still won’t vote

Print More

The Nov. 6 midterm elections are shaping up to be impactful: Control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate might change, impacting everything from Supreme Court appointments to doctor’s appointments.

And that’s just at the federal level. A whopping 36 states will cast votes for a governor, including Michigan, where outgoing Governor Rick Snyder is term-limited. The Great Lakes State will also decide on multiple proposals, including legal marijuana and redistricting reform aiming to end “gerrymandering.”

A record 29 percent of registered voters went to the polls during Michigan’s primary elections on Aug. 7. While that number is almost certain to be higher on Nov. 6, millions of registered voters will likely stay home — and roughly 200,000 of Michigan’s voting-age people are not registered, as of 2016. The deadline to register for this fall’s election is Oct. 9.

We spoke with several young people who are eligible to vote —but not registered — to find out what issues they care about, what barriers prevent them from registering and what might get them involved in the process. Click the links below to read their full stories.

— Riley Murdock

For Michigan State University nursing senior Claire Farrington, memories of the 2016 election still linger, and she can only describe her decision two years ago in one word: regret.








Courtesy of Nadine Brikho

Reem Brikho at her home in Rochester Hills, Mich. on Sept. 17.

While Reem Brikho remains unregistered and unfamiliar with politics, she feels affected by deportation and school shootings. Being a Chaldean, she said her community was affected when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was deporting Chaldeans to Iraq.





Ally Geschwind, a 19-year-old student at Macomb Community College, posing in front of a wall in her friends’ house just off of MSU’s campus. Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Kelley

Ally Geschwind said she never registered to vote because she doesn’t feel very connected to politics and was never fully educated on the process of registering to vote, how to fill out a ballot or what topics could be voted on.





Rachael Harris

East Lansing resident, Dewayne Lee, posing at Jersey Mikes Sept. 19, 2018

Dewayne Lee is a 21- year-old Michigander working to turn his life around. Raised in a challenging family situation in Detroit, he has moved around a lot, but says he is working to settle for now in East Lansing. When asked if he’s registered to vote, Lee’s initial response was, “No, I  don’t have enough time right now. I will soon though.”



MSU Communications major Treasure Duncan in Brody Hall

MSU communication junior Treasure Duncan chooses not to vote because she perceives politicians as scam artists, which makes it difficult for her to know what policies are real.











Jacob Vogel

Doug Dufrin at his apartment in East Lansing, Mich. on Sept. 18, 2018.

Growing up in the South, 23-year-old Doug Dufrin developed a skepticism to the government that has sustained itself over time.












Riley Murdock

David Hilt, 21, of Harrison Township, poses for a portrait in East Lansing on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.

David Hilt, 21, of Harrison Township, is one of Michigan’s 2,862,631 eligible non-voters.“Politics don’t interest me,” Hilt said. “I’m not really into it, I never look into it at all.”


Comments are closed.