Hoosier first-time and young voters on track to break records

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS — Young Hoosiers and first time voters are on track to make history this election.

The pandemic, justice reform issues and social media are some of the factors pushing these groups to the polls.

“I feel like our generation is like the one that’s leading most of the votes right now,” said Amar Heer, 18.

“A ton of my friends and a ton of people I know are very vocal about voting,” added another 18-year-old first-time voter, Makenzie Rooney. “Which, I think is great.”

“With us being in a pandemic, I feel as if everyone is more awake and alive in the fact of actually knowing what is going on,” said first-time voter Darian Love. He is 23 but didn’t vote the first time he was eligible because he said it didn’t feel as important then. “I hope my children’s children won’t have to face the same thing that we are going through and I know for me, I’ve lost my job because of the pandemic.”

Young voters and first-time voters are breaking records this election. Indiana University Political Science Professor Steven Webster said he believes it has a lot to do with the pandemic.

“Students not being able to go back to college, not being able to see their friends not being able to go out to restaurants, this is a really tangible way in which politics has really kind of hit home for them,” explained Webster.

This feeling is hitting them possibly, for the first time.

“Youth voters are notorious for not turning out in American elections, lots of times young voters are apathetic and they don’t think politics affects their lives so they choose to stay home,” said Webster.

That’s why the League of Women Voters has been showing up to schools and different places around the community to promote voting at a young age. This year— the Fort Wayne chapter made social media accounts to connect with them.

“We’ve had some success not quite as much maybe as we would have liked because after all, we are a lot older trying to reach this younger demographic,” said Sharon Busick Howell, the President of the League of Women Voters in Fort Wayne.

Online is where many of these voters said they learned the most about voting and the candidates.

“Every social media that I have, there has been just stuff popping up over and over reminding people to vote,” said Rooney.

“I think everyone nowadays has a phone and once they see like a viral video of anything, I think it just gets people angered,” said Heer.

Webster said anger is probably the number one driver to the polls.

“We are seeing anger about the economy, the health situation in this country, and so I think this anger is really fueling a sort of bipartisan turnout ahead of this election,” said Webster.

Whatever is bringing more people to vote, Webster said it’s what is best for democracy.

“I think it’s good to see more people turnout and participate,” said Webster.

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