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U.S. millennial generation may hold weight in 2016 election

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Daniyal Ashad | The Daily Wildcat

UA students wait in line at the ASUA office to vote early for the 2016 election on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Millennials are America's largest generation and have the ability to change the election if they get out and vote.

With an estimated population of 75.4 million, millennials are America’s largest generation. Millennials, a group larger than the baby boomers, have the chance to impact the presidential election, but only if they all go out and vote.

Michael Finnegan, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said millennials at UA are notorious for their low voting turnout.

“ASUA works hard to promote student voting because we feel that student votes truly do matter in every election,” Finnegan said. “If enough students vote, those votes add up and can make a difference. Some students don’t

realize that.”

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Voters aged 18-24 have become less engaged in elections over the years, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Voting rates dropped from 50.9 percent in 1964 to 38 percent in the 2012 election.

Although millennial voting is uncommon at other college campuses, there are many opportunities offered around the UA campus which help to promote student voting during the election year, according to Finnegan.

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Justin Marks, a nutritional science senior, said many students feel their single vote will not count in the election, so they don’t head out to the polls.

Marks said although there are voting booths offered throughout the UA campus where students can cast their vote easily, a majority of students neglect to register because they don’t realize the significance of the election and how much their vote can truly count in the long run.

“During my last four years at the UA, I have noticed that a multitude of students do not vote simply because they are too lazy to register,” Marks said. “Personally, I think that my vote matters, and I have made it a point this year to send in my early ballot in order to help benefit my country and to contribute to an important cause.”

F. Ann Rodriguez, the Pima County Recorder, said she’s noticed a trend in millennial voting.

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“From my observation, I have witnessed that the majority of votes I receive from this county are from individuals 21 years of age and over,” Rodriguez said. “I do not typically receive a wide variety of votes from the age groups of 18-20. The reason for that, I’m not sure.”

According to a University of Massachusetts Lowell poll, almost a quarter of Americans ages 18-35 would rather see a meteor strike Earth than see either presidential nominee elected.

Rachel Pollack, a communications sophomore, said some students feel that the two candidates running in this year’s election aren’t qualified for office. She credits this as the deciding factor of whether to cast a vote or not.

“I am not voting in this year’s election,” Pollack said. “I do not consider the two candidates to be qualified for office and I do not want to vote for something I don’t believe in.”

Meagan Silverman, a criminology sophomore, said she will vote in this year’s election because she feels it is important for her voice to be heard.

“I am voting because I feel that it is an important right to have,” Silverman said. “No matter which candidate wins, I want to say that I voted so I am not disappointed at the outcome of the election.”

Marks said he feels it is extremely important that his generation realizes how important it is to vote and that putting in the effort to do so is the most important aspect of all.

Marks said students, instead of sitting around and letting people make decisions for them, should get involved and vote.

Finnegan added that ASUA has set up polling locations around campus, promoted voting via the internet and is thinking of new ways to convince students to vote as time goes on. 


Follow Caryn Vieria on Twitter.



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