Youth Voter Turnout Lowest in Generation

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(Host) Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says she’s concerned that voter turnout rates among young people are lower now than in previous generations.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Markowitz says people under 25 have traditionally recorded the lowest turnout rates. But she says the problem is worse today than it’s ever been:

(Markowitz) “So what we’re concerned about right now is that the youngest generation of voters are not voting at nearly twice the rate of previous young voters. So if you’re comparing generation to generation, we have one of the lowest turnouts among the young generation that we’ve ever had.”

(Host) Markowitz says she’s concerned that politicians will ignore the needs of young people if the trend continues:

(Markowitz) “The impact is that you have fewer and fewer people who are having their voices heard and we know that politicians will talk about the issues and be concerned and focus on the issues of the folks who vote. And so if young people aren’t participating, it means the issues that affect them aren’t getting on the table – they’re not part of the debate.”

(Host) Markowitz says recent studies indicate that many young voters are confused about how the political system actually works and she says efforts are being launched to bolster civics programs around the state.

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