Local first-time voters discuss why they’re voting this election

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 9:26 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- One of the big questions of each election cycle is what will young voter turnout be, and what issues matter most to that demographic.

“We’ve grown up with a huge political era in our lives, with the 2020 election, where it’s so ingrained, so being able to actively participate and not just watch it on a tv screen is kind of crazy,” said Sofia Saucedo.

She is a freshman at UMD and said she is excited to vote for the first time this year because even smaller elections can greatly impact policy.

Dr. Cindy Rugeley, the head of the political science department at UMD said young voter turnout is getting better.

“I think that younger people now, all the evidence indicates they do vote at a higher rate than previous generations, but they still don’t vote at what I’d call a high rate,” Rugeley said.

Other first-time voters, UMD freshmen Brianna McKinnon and Abigail McMillin said there are lots of reasons young people should vote.

“To have our own views represented, and not the views of our parents, that we might not agree with,” McMillin said.

“Since we’re in college, we’re going into jobs that a lot of policies these people might make might affect us, so it’s good that we have our own thoughts out there,” McKinnon said.

She said an issue she’s concerned about is education policy, while McMillin said she’s concerned laws supporting LGBTQ+ people could be overturned.

As for young people who might be on the fence about whether to vote, McKinnon and McMillin said their peers should take some time to research.

“Just google and vote, please vote! I don’t think it’s too hard, I haven’t done it yet,” they said.

Students at UMD will be holding an outreach event called Voterpalooza, to encourage fellow young adults to register to vote.

That’s happening on Wednesday from 9 to 3 pm at the Kirby Student Center.