DeWitt voters reflect on changing election climate

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In this election, the participation of young voters is more important than ever. According to 2020 Census data, voters aged 18-24 had the lowest voter turnout of all ages with only 48% reporting they voted in the 2020 election. On the other hand, voters aged 65 and up had the highest voter turnout with 72% voting in the 2020 election. This Election Day, DeWitt voters are showing up in droves to have their voices heard. At DeWitt Middle School, voters were asked their thoughts on voting in modern times compared to their past experiences as well as the importance of voter participation.

Matt Straney, 58, mentioned that while voting was much more of a come-and-go situation in past elections, it seems that things are no longer as simple in 2022. “People get all bent out of shape about things… I’m old school; everybody votes, we count the votes, and whoever wins wins,” said Straney. He further emphasized that he believes that Americans should honor the sacrifices put forth by our military to protect our freedom to vote. “A lot of good men died so that I could come here and do this,” he said.

“In a lot of countries, if you don’t vote they send you a fine in the mail. I would personally support that and be like, ‘no, you need to at least educate yourself enough to know what’s going on and go vote.’” he said. Straney shares sentiments with other DeWitt voters who believe voter education is essential.

DeWitt High School teacher Stephanie Anderson, 40, believes voting has been made more accessible since she started voting in 2000. Anderson also believes very strongly in the importance of voting and passes that belief onto her students. “Usually my homework for my students on Election Day is to encourage someone who has never voted before to vote for the first time in-person,” said Anderson.

Duane and Joni Kelchik, 71 and 65, haven’t noticed much change within the decades they’ve been voting. Although they agreed modern voting has shorter wait times and increased ease of voting absentee. Siding more with the general consensus of younger voters, Duane noted the importance of Proposal 3: “I really think the abortion issue is an individual thing and I don’t think a politician or a governor or anybody should have the absolute authority to determine whether you have an abortion or not.” The Kelchiks’ response shows that while young voters may be dependent on their peers to pass legislation, they may have allies in the older generation.

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