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Age of politics: electorate get younger, politicians get older

The Daily Illini, Elizabeth Sayasane:

The young adult voter population has shown low rates of voting the past several years. The polls, however, saw an increase in their participation from 2012 to 2016 and a larger jump from 2014 to 2018, in part thanks to strong initiatives coordinated on places like college campuses.

Hira Khan leads some of these initiatives as the state coordinator for the Campus Vote Project in Michigan.

“I recruit students from campuses and then help them do civic engagement work on campus to get their fellow peers to be more engaged in the democratic process,” Khan said.

This engagement includes town halls, student panels and tabling, working to educate their young peers on the basics of voting. These students cover how to get an absentee ballot, how to register, where polling locations are and more.

Khan said informing these students could be the key to getting a larger voter turnout from this demographic. Whether the problem is missing deadlines or confusion over how to vote by mail, educating these voters can go a long way.

While the students Khan works with never specifically cite the age of candidates as a particular issue they consider when voting, she thinks it could potentially play a part in voter turnout overall.

“Elected officials are running their campaign (and) maybe they don’t target students as being a big population or they don’t necessarily rely on the student vote to be re-elected,” she said. “Therefore, a lot of their policies, while they serve the overall community, they don’t have necessarily specific items that are focused on students.”

Read the full article here.


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