Young voter turnout

Some experts say these elections could be decided by young people… and whether or not they show up to vote.

The PEW Research Center says Generation X, millennials and Generation Z– or those between 18 and about 53 years old– now make up the majority of eligible voters at around 60 percent.

But those groups have a history of not showing up to the polls, especially during midterm elections.

UW-La Crosse student Olivia Ahnen couldn’t wait to vote this morning. “It was actually my first time voting,” she said.

“I like to stay involved in politics, I like to stay versed on what’s going on in our country and to be able to voice my opinions for the change that I want to see happen felt good and it made me feel like I could make a difference.”

She’s not alone.

“Everyone that I’m friends with voted. I see a lot of people that I know and my friends eager to exercise their right to vote,” Ahnen said.

Fellow UW-La Crosse student and first-time voter Victoria Williams said all of her friends motivated her to get out and vote.

“A lot of my friends are voting and a lot of, like, my roommates were reminding me to vote and my friends were reminding me to vote too,” Williams said.

Pat Strittmatter, chief inspector at UW-La Crosse Student Union, said, “It’s hard to compare to a presidential but this is a very busy election.”

UW-La Crosse student Cole Howard has seen his friends become more interested in politics.

“I do see that starting to shift. I think there’s more push for it on social media for younger people to get out and vote because our voice does matter,” Howard said.

Perhaps the biggest thing holding them back is inexperience.

“I think most people think, at least my age, think that the voting process is really complicated but it’s really not that complicated, it doesn’t take that long either,” Howard said.

“I was kind of nervous coming in because I never knew how to do it and I didn’t really get taught how to vote or the process of it, and it was a lot easier than I expected and a lot quicker,” Williams said.

But ultimately the students I talked to say they’re voting because their voice matters.

“Essentially, one vote could make or break an election and it’s important to remember that,” Ahnen said.

Poll workers at UW-La Crosse said most students don’t show up to vote until later in the afternoon.

But this morning there was already a line of students waiting to vote at 7 a.m.

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