I embarked upon an investigative journey where I met three Junction City residents between 21 and 30 years of age. Two were registered voters, and one was not – but they all shared a distaste for our current political system.
I wanted to know if younger people knew about any of the candidates for the local elections, or even that the local election was days away.
“Unfortunately, I’m having to vote for the lesser of two evils,” said 30 year old Adam Ard.
Ard, a registered Libertarian says that the current Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson doesn’t represent his views.
“I can not morally vote for Hillary Clinton, so I’m somewhat forced to either write in Mr. Johnson or vote for Mr. Trump. I feel that Mr. Trump aligns with some of the values that I hold dear so unfortunately it looks like I’m probably going to have to vote for him,” said Ard.
Unlike the other two individuals I came across, Ard was aware of at least one of the candidates in the local primaries on August 2nd.
“Mr. Allbritton has kind of peaked my interest a little bit on some of his stances and issues – but the jury is still out on that vote for me, but I will be deciding before election day,” said Ard.
On the opposite end of the spectrum meet Meghan Bennett, 21, who says she is not registered to vote and does not plan to register.
“Honestly, I don’t want either of them to win,” began Bennett referring to the presidential candidates. “I don’t agree with either of them…and my opinion actually doesn’t matter, it’s the electoral college that ends up deciding it.”
I asked Bennett if she would consider voting for the 1st District Senate race or the 68th District House Race to hopefully influence decisions in the nation’s capitol; Bennett not only said no, but she didn’t know any of the candidates.
“The only way you’re going to hear about that is watching the news, and I guess most people don’t sit there and watch the news, they watch other stuff; or [they could] read the paper and I don’t think many people read the paper anymore,” said Bennett.
This begs the question – do young people watch the news anymore?
Twenty-five year old Cameron Edwards says not only does he watch the news, but he is passionate about politics.
“I’ve lived in many other states and it’s more involved with the community and stuff – voting and all that – around here, I don’t really see many young people voting which is kind of heart breaking because I am really passionate about politics,” said Edwards.
Edwards added that the local elections have failed to advertise to younger demographics, stating: “It seems like they run it themselves.”
“With people my age you really have to do your own research on the people; they don’t give you the tools to really know about the candidates or anything locally and that’s one thing that I think needs to change,” said Edwards.
While Edwards was unfamiliar with any of the local candidates for county commission or the 68th District House of Representatives for example, he did have strong feelings on the presidential race.
“It’s just corrupt. Hillary should be in prison and Trump is just there to make everything look appalling so everybody votes for Hillary…and Bernie Sanders is obviously a good candidate, but there’s no way the establishment would get behind him. It’s all money driven and everybody my ages knows it. I haven’t met one person that actually voted for Hillary, and somehow she’s the nominee,” said Edwards.
Edwards added that he doesn’t know many Trump suppporters but those he has met have been in stark contrast to his beliefs.
What is it about Hillary Clinton that has people so bothered; and could the Democratic Party’s vote to nominate her over Bernie Sanders have caused irreparable damage?
Is Donald Trump a bigot, a bad businessman – or any of the other things people have called him? Would he be a better choice than Hillary?
Do local candidates need to make more of an effort to reach a younger demographic; or will the majority of millenials remain frustrated, uneducated about the political system, and continually refuse to get involved in local politics?
I’d love to hear from you – millenials and older voters.
Sound off in the comments or send an email with your contact information for an interview to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote on August 2nd in the local primaries; for your polling place and a sample ballot visit VOTE KS.