SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Young people are not voting, at least not as much as their older counterparts. And ad campaigns are targeting young people with the goal to get them to vote.
“It’s critical,” said Patrick Ponder, a member of Drury Young Democrats.
Both Ponder and Chandler Haynes, a member of College Republicans at OTC, voted for the first time in 2016.
“First time voting, yes,” Haynes said.
“Really cool, and just to see a bunch of people coming out to participate,” Ponder said.
Now, both are involved with political groups on their college campuses
“We are, for better or worse, the future of the country,” Ponder said.
But they are not a majority. According to The Network, a group for young leaders in Springfield, the average age of voters in the city is 68.
An ad campaign by Knock the Vote aims at getting young people to the polls.
Ponder and Haynes say apathy or feeling like your vote doesn’t count can be a factor for lower voting numbers among younger citizens.
“The country as a whole can be daunting,” Haynes said.
But focusing on local and state elections can change that.
“These mid-term elections, these elections for our senators, and for our district representatives, they are direct elections so each vote does count,” Ponder said.
“If we get people to look inward, to look at their communities, like Christian County or Ozark specifically, that’s a level where one person can actually make a change,” Haynes said. “Where one vote, 20 votes, 100 votes literally can affect the success and failure of a campaign.”
They say learning what you’re passionate about and educating yourself is the first step.
“It is our civic duty to vote,” Ponder said.
“You don’t have to vote my candidate, but go out and vote for a candidate,” Haynes said. “Because our country and our system don’t work if people stay home.”