Secretary of State Officials Believe Millennials are Opting Out of Midterm Elections

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor
talbert.toole@hottytoddy.com

Video by Hottytoddy.com interns Olivia O’Neal, Claudia McCreary, Emily Reynolds, Ruth Parker Bauknight, Mekial Simmons and Garrett Tolbert.

Voting precincts across the country opened at 7 a.m. this morning in each of their respective time zones. Many LOU residents have already cast their ballots in hopes of being represented by his or her favored candidate.

Oxford resident Kathy Schoalmire said she voted in this year’s midterm elections because it is her civic duty to help shape the U.S.

“I voted because it is my responsibility as a citizen to voice my opinion,” she said.

Voter turnout for the midterm elections is at an all time high for those between the ages of 18-30, according to a recent survey by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Although this looks promising, representatives from Mississippi’s Secretary of State office said at a panel last month that voter turnout for millennials (18-34 year olds) look dismal in this year’s election.

The Mississippi Humanities Council hosted Ideas on Tap—a panel discussion featuring knowledgeable participants who present a wide spectrum of opinions on the topic—across the state.

Kim Turner, the assistant secretary of state who oversees the office’s elections division, said at the October panel that Mississippi is great at getting its residents registered to vote; however, the state falls short at turning those registered into actual votes during elections.

“This entire year our turnout for the primary [election] was dismal,” Turner said. “And that’s not a word I use lightly. It’s meant to be shocking to your conscience that we hover between 13 to 14 percent of that 1.8 million registered voters.”

Regarding young voter turnout, Turner said the problems varied across the board such as interest in politics, poor messaging, and perceptions of candidates and political parties.

“It comes from a generation that is so used to convenience and ease,” Turner said.

Ole Miss freshman and Dallas, Texas native Sara TaCito, 18, said she did not vote in this year’s midterm election because she has no interest in politics.

“My mom always gets on to me because it is the biggest right we have,” TaCito said. “I don’t really pay attention to politics. It doesn’t really interest me.”

Kaden Spellmann, an Ole Miss freshman and Amarillo, Texas native, said he was not participating in this year’s election either due to the fact he did not get his absentee ballot in time.

National companies such as Uber, Lyft and Snapchat have made a push to not only register voters but get registered voters to the polls this year.

Earlier this year, Snapchat partnered with TurboVote—a website that provides easy access to election information, voter registration documents and absentee information—which now provides app users the option to register in each of their respective states and counties.

The partnership was a campaign in order to help those, specifically millennials, register to vote in this year’s midterm elections.

Although local organizations, such as Mississippi Votes—a nonpartisan organization that helps register and mobilize young Mississippians to vote in the midterms—pushed to get young voters to the polls, Turner and other panelists seemed pessimistic regarding this year’s young voter turnout.


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