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Young voters and midterms

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — will younger voters turn out during this year’s midterms?

One local professor is outlining lessons that could help Millennials show up at the polls in November.

Combating voter apathy with young folks, especially in non-presidential election seasons, has been a big challenge for Republicans and Democrats.

But as IUSB political science professor Elizabeth Bennion explained in her column in the Washington Post, college campuses could be a catalyst for more engagement.

“This particular moment in history, young voters, Generation X, Millennial and post-Millennial voters actually make up the majority of the electorate,” said Bennion. “But they do not vote at rates comparable to their size in the electorate. So they are not exercising their voting power.”

That fact raises concerns of a less representative democracy for Bennion and others at colleges all across the country.

And studies show voter participation in midterms among folks between 18 and 29 drops more than older groups.

But Bennion says it’s not impossible to turn the tide.

“We know classroom registration drives work,” said Bennion.

In addition to classroom drives, email registration can yield good results if they are targeted.

One-on-one mobilization is arguably the most effective technique.

And utilizing social media could be the most efficient strategy if the message is more personalized.

“That seems to be a takeaway from the voter mobilization literature in general and that’s the more personalized you can make the message the more likely it is somebody will vote,” said Bennion.

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