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Young Utah Voters Discuss Why They Are Turning Out This Election

Hermosa Wave

Election day is right around the corner. For many college students, this year’s election is their first time voting for the president of the United States.

Hannah Waddell, a junior at Dixie State University, said she considers voting in the 2020 presidential election a privilege. 

“A lot of people have fought for us, especially women, to be able to vote," Waddell said. "I think that exercising that right is important, especially if we want our generation to be heard and want changes and reformation then we need to get up and fight for it.” 

Gavin Young, a sophomore from Dixie State, agreed with Waddell.

“I do feel like it is important to vote because we’re basically choosing who determines our future and how our communities are run whether on a big scale, like the president, or a smaller scale like the city of St. George," Young said. "We want people who will be the most effective in our area.”

Utah is the state with the nation's youngest average population-- which means a lot of young voters. In the 2016 presidential election, 26.8 percent of Utah voters were between the ages 18 and 29 while the national average was 21.6 percent.

Despite the importance students like Young and Waddell place on voting, the voting rates for Utahns between the ages of 18 and 29 have a history of lagging, according to data from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

If young adults don’t consider themselves political, this could be one reason they choose not to vote, but Southern Utah University freshman Kayley Bucklee said she doesn’t think that should keep students from registering and casting their ballot. 

“I’m not really interested, but I’m planning on voting because if you don’t vote, it’s just not a good idea," Bucklee said. "Participate somehow.”

According to a recent article in the Deseret News, experts are predicting that like most election cycles, the young electorate could be a deciding factor this year. 

The issue is, do student’s even know that they have this much impact on the final results?

Shelby Brown, the president of Women in Politics club at Utah State University, said for her, the answer is “yes.”  This is the first time she will be voting in a presidential election and she said she knows how vital her vote is.

“I care about the election a lot," Brown said. "I think just maintaining our democracy and having a good voter turnout is very important, but I think that comes from how my family always emphasised how izmportant voting was.”

To register to vote as a resident in Utah visit