The 2016 presidential election saw roughly the same percentage of youth voters as the 2012 election, but an increase in young voters who did not identify with either major party — something experts say reflects their views on American politics and poses a clear challenge for the major parties. “Youth voters are skeptical about the two major parties,” said Abby Kiesa, director of impact at the The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. “Young people want drastic change, and they don’t think Republicans or Democrats will give them that.”
Young people are increasingly leaving behind the two major parties. This year, 35 percent of youth voters said they identify as independents, which is almost the same as the 37 percent who identified with Democrats before the election. This is compared to 29 percent independents and 45 percent Democrat in 2008.
When Donald Trump was projected winner of Michigan in the 2016 presidential election, it was the first time a Republican presidential candidate won the state since 1988. Ingham County, one of just eight Michigan counties that voted for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, favored her with a clear majority of 60.2 percent compared to Trump’s 32.8 percent. East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks was expecting her city and county to support Clinton. “Nothing about our results is surprising, but I was surprised by Michigan’s results,” Wicks said.
Democrats who had hoped to wrest control of the U.S. House from Republicans were left disappointed Tuesday. Republicans maintained their 9-5 advantage over Democrats in Michigan congressional races. All of the state’s incumbent representatives held their seats, and Republicans held two open seats.
In buildings across Michigan State University’s campus, hundreds of students stood in lines that wound around buildings. The wait to vote was sometimes longer than two hours. One thing was clear: passion drove students to fill campus polling locations.
Democratic incumbent state Rep. Tom Cochran, D-Mason, faces challenger Republican Leon Clark to represent the 67th District in the state House. With 60 percent of precincts reporting, Cochran leads Clark 56 percent to 44 percent. The 67th District spans much of southern Ingham County. Looking to win his third and final term in office, Cochran previously served on the Lansing Fire Department for over 29 years. Born and raised in Lansing, Cochran has been a mid-Michigan resident his entire life.
“It’s either you stand for something or fall for nothing,” said Michigan State University freshman Sam Bryant on voting in the 2016 Presidential Election. Thousands of MSU students feel the same way, with record-high numbers of new student voters registering to vote in this year’s election.