Erin Meyering

Concerns with young voter participation noticeable in caucus awareness

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With the Nevada Republican Caucus tomorrow, Feb. 4 and the presidential election just around the corner, young eyes, ears and voters have become either eager or apathetic to understand and participate in each party’s platform.

Republicans won all age demographics except the ‘under 30’ age group in the 2008 presidential election, according to rockthevote.com, a website promoting young voter participation.

Even Orrin Johnson, Washoe County GOP chair of the Nevada Republican Caucus, said the Democratic Party has historically done more than the Republican Party to attract new and younger voters to the polls.

For some, like 19-year-old Christian McFall who was unaware of the upcoming caucus, the option to vote does not provide enough motivation to actually get involved.

“I haven’t voted yet,” McFall said. “Not sure I will either. I believe that a head count would be the only way I’d feel I had a voice. The electoral system to me is corrupt.”

Issues that may particularly pertain to some students may be education and government spending. The build-up of student loans has become astronomical this year, as tuition rises as well.

Locally, the University of Nevada Reno students are now facing an 8 percent increase in their tuition.

“More students should get involved,” David Huffmire, caucus coordinator and vice principal for Galena High School said. “It’s their future!”

Regardless of what issues cause younger voters to actually get involved, whether that be through social media, discussion with friends or physically casting their vote, the participation will never be there without a certain amount of awareness.

Aside from their own media intake and vague and routine announcements over the intercom, Galena High School, students, some registered voters, haven’t heard much about the caucus although their school is one of the 14 locations this year.

Even the announcements made over the loud speaker focused on Mitt Romney’s awaited visit, that was canceled by email at 9 a.m. this morning, not the caucus, Huffmire said.

“It’s a shame that parties have done nothing to promote the caucus at our school,” Huffmire said.

Despite common misconception, some of the generation is interested and well educated on the election and caucus process.

“I am actively following the election and politics interests me,” 20-year-old student at Yale, Austin Elcano said.” “I consider it my duty as a citizen to stay up on current affairs.”

So for those uninterested in the recent political happenings, if not now, when?

“I do think people should become involved with politics [around] 18 years old,” McFall said. It’s the age where you make your first big decisions…[the] perfect time to add it to your list of responsibilities.”

Agreeing with McFall, Huffmire claimed his students would be more involved with the caucus had their been more promotion and recruitment from the parties.

“I sometimes scratch my head and wonder why more [young people] aren’t involved,” Huffmire said.

Elcano claims that the political process is not that black and white, though. Participation should depend on depth of understanding and level of awareness versus the simple matter of age.

“People should become involved with politics and vote as soon as they are old enough to critically look at the issues and start forming their own opinions,” Elcano said.

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Written by emeyering

February 4, 2012 at 1:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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