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Study: 1/3 of young people ‘too busy’ to vote

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If history were to repeat itself, many young people who are registered voters might not cast a ballot come Election Day on Tuesday, and a recent study has found that the biggest reason is because they’re too busy and have conflicting schedules. 

The study, done by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, found that 33.5 percent of voters ages 18-29 who did not vote said their schedules conflicted with their ability to vote in 2010. 

Abby Kiesa, youth coordinator and researcher at Tufts University, is part of the research team looking into voters’ habits. 

“We shared 2010 findings because it’s the most recent midterm election,” she said in an email. “We did that because we had found that these answers can differ whether or not it’s a midterm or presidential election.” 

According to data from CIRCLE’s website, 20.7 percent of voters between 18 and 29 turned out to vote in Ohio during the 2010 midterm election. And during the 2012 presidential election, 50.2 percent of people in that age group voted in the Buckeye state. 

“When it comes to youth voting, research suggests that it’s important to understand whether youth are contacted by campaigns, non-governmental organizations and provided with basic information about the voting process,” Kiesa said. 

The second most common reason — or the reason 17.2 percent of young voters gave for not voting — was that they were not interested and/or felt that their vote would not count. Another reason, at 10.2 percent, was that they were out of town, away from home or just simply forgot. 

OSU Votes, an initiate through the student service group Pay it Forward, aims to register and encourage students to vote, as well as educate them about the voting process.

The group hosts events where students can register to vote with the assistance of an OSU Votes ambassador, who helps walk them through the process.  

The Ohio gubernatorial election will take place on Tuesday. Republican Gov. John Kasich is running for re-election against Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald. 

Some students said they are voting, but were not surprised with the study results.

Kelsey Maxwell, a first-year in exercise science, said she thinks students were less informed about elections.

“I would think that students don’t vote because they may not know as much about it because they have busy schedules,” she said.  

While Maxwell said she will be voting come Tuesday, there are people that she knows who will not be showing up to the polls. 

“I know some people don’t vote because they say they don’t have a reason to, because they don’t know a lot of information about it,” she said.

Kevin Mack, a second-year in accounting, said sometimes voting can be a hassle for younger students who are away at college.

“For me, I want to stay in my own district, so I have to do absentee and it’s a hassle to get the mail and stuff in,” he said. 

Mack added that he thinks the main reason students don’t vote is because they don’t know enough about the election.  

“I think it’s more they’re uneducated on what the stuff is and they don’t feel that they should vote if they are uneducated on issues,” he said. 

Although he said he planned to vote absentee, he thinks a busy schedule would have an effect on other students’ decision to vote.  

“I’m not surprised. It’s sort of midterm time, too. (I’ve) got three midterms this week. If I had to go vote, I don’t know if I would or not,” he said.

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