Young voters expected to come out in full force in midterms

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Young voters under the age of 29 are expected to come out to vote in full force for the midterm elections this November.

That’s the hope of Rutgers University Professor Elizabeth Matto and the students who are working on voting outreach with her at the Center for Youth Political Participation.

“In those first few weeks of the semester, you’re getting used to residence life. You’re getting ready for new classes or your syllabus, all of that,” Matto says. “So of those students, for many of them, it’s new.”

By 2020, 27 percent of the electorate will be between the ages of 18 and 29. Matto says that these young voters may be the most likely to cast their ballots in years.

GUIDE: How to register to vote in your New Jersey
MORE: Election officials prepare for voter registration deadline

“There’s both some survey data and there’s some anecdotal evidence that suggests that students are paying attention more to the political process,” she says.

The students who are of voting age are part of Generation Z, born after the mid-1990s. They grew up with the internet, smartphones and social media. A circle survey out of Tufts University found that this could make them more likely to want to vote.

Freshman Seth Turner says that he plans on voting this year, after having grown up watching the political divide on issues that are affecting his everyday life.

“I’ve been paying attention to a lot of the Black Lives Matter. My parents, they’ve been harping on me about just making sure I’m staying safe, putting myself in clean situations, not trying to fall into stereotypic situations,” he says.

Freshman Janet Wei says that school shootings are a big issue for her.

“Young people are mostly being affected,” she says. “Older people, they probably can’t relate to us much, being in schools.”

The last day to register to vote in New Jersey is Tuesday, Oct. 16.

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