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SciLine holds briefing on voter trends

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As the U.S. prepares for midterm elections, voting and voter turnout have been hot topics in the media. This month, SciLine hosted a panel of political science researchers who spoke about factors that play into voter turnout.

Jane Junn, a professor of political science at the University of Southern California, focused on the gender and race gap that influences voting in the U.S. She shared that women are the biggest category of voters with respect to gender.

Junn also explained that voter race plays a large role in how people vote.

“Whites, whether they’re male or female, voted for Trump by a majority, 59-52, men versus women. And then African American men, women, Latino men, Latina women and all others are heavily Democratic,” Junn said.

John Holbein, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Virginia, spoke on the age gap found in voter turnout and how to increase the number of youth who actually vote.

“In fact, the United States stands out in kind of the bad way, having one of the lowest rates of youth voter participation in the world and one of the largest age gaps in voter participation," Holbein said.

Holbein cited data that show most young voters intend to vote, but a great percentage of them end up not voting. He went on to explain what can be done to change that. Two things he touched on were making voter registration and voting easier, and civic education reform.

Nazita Lajevardi, an associate professor of American politics at Michigan State University, explained voter I.D. laws and the impact that they have on who votes.

“It is true that Black Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities have the vote, but there are efforts to reduce the influence of that vote,” Lajevardi said.

Voter I.D. laws exist in some places around the U.S. today. These requirements exclude groups of people from being able to vote because of requirements to receive certain forms of I.D.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.