Okemos Public Schools was closed due to Tuesday’s midterm election, but many Meridian Township parents still found themselves on school grounds. A total of 18 children came along with their parents as they cast their votes around noon at Murphy Elementary School. Stacy Liddick brought her children Nicholas and Allison. “We have to make decisions as people who want change,” 9-year-old Alison said. “They need to know that in order to see change, voices need to be heard,” said Liddick.
Eli Pales life right now is full of plenty of coffee and lots of work. “In previous years we just haven’ t had the people in place that cared enough about voter turn out,” said Pales.
Historically voter turn out in midterm election is low, but this time we are seeing changes said Pales. “We’ve gotten tons and tons of people registered. I’m hearing from the clerk that our voter reg numbers are gonna be on par with the 2016 general election and that’s just absolutely insane,” he said. In fact, Pales says voter registration will end up six times higher than the last midterms.
From on-campus to off-campus, Lansing City clerk, Chris Swope, will have his hands full these next few weeks.
Election Day is right around the corner– Tuesday, November 6th to be exact. Some are calling this the most important midterm election in decades, but do young people understand the magnitude? Will the young voters head to the polls? The Democrats are hoping to flip the House. The Republicans currently hold the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
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.
Young voter turnout throughout the years has been stagnant, but with the majority of millennial voters now 18, the Nov. 8 presidential election could be decided by the youth. Young voters — people between the ages of 18 and 35 — are now just as powerful in presidential elections as their parents, according to analysis of U.S. census data from the Pew Research Center. The question now is: will they use their power to vote? East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks said young people are always moving, which makes it harder for them to register and subsequently cast a vote when the election arrives.
When getting out to vote, Asian Pacific Americans often struggle with deciding who to vote or even how to vote. Asian Pacific Americans make up 6 percent of the U.S. population, but voter turnout is lower than any other racial group in the country. This could be because they are often underrepresented in government. On Feb. 27, the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Michigan State University held an event called Activism, Politics, and Social Media Summit … Raising Asian American Voices.
On March 8, Meridian Township voters hit the polling booths and cast their votes in the 2016 presidential primary election, along with the rest of Michigan. Those booths were a bit busier than usual. According to the township clerk’s office, of the 29,554 registered voters in Meridian, 13,115 submitted either a ballot or an absentee ballot for the primary. It was also reported that at least 3,500 absentee ballots were submitted for this election, compared to only about 1,200 absentee ballots submitted in 2012’s primary. This year’s voter turnout for the primary toppled 2012’s statistic in general, when only 5,917 Meridian voters of 27,377 registered voters submitted a ballot.
Millennial students are creating clubs to show their dedication to Bernie Sanders, such as the #FeelTheBern MSU group at Michigan State University. While older Democrats may favor Hillary Clinton as their prospective presidential candidate, a poll by NBC News in October 2015 shows that millennials are instead “feeling the Bern” with Bernie Sanders. The poll shows that 54 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 30 would choose to elect Sanders, outweighing Clinton’s 26 percent. “I think that millennials, because they’re young, are idealistic,” said Republican Merri Cullen, 60. “It’s probably one of the coolest ages to be, because you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and you haven’t been jaded yet.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Political disinterest, tricky voting laws and registration processes may stand between millennials and the February 8th deadline to register to vote in the upcoming Michigan presidential primary. “I don’t want to vote in the presidential primary,” said Michigan State senior journalism major Kelsey Banas. “I’m really just not into it, I hate politics.”
Less than 50 percent of millennials, or people ages 18 to 35, say that they will not vote in the presidential primary according to a January 2016 USA Today survey. For many young voters like Banas, feeling disengaged or uninterested in politics is a major deterrent to civic engagement and voter registration.