Youth turnout increases in polls

The voting booths saw 1 percent more young faces this election as students headed to the polls to cast their votes.

The youth vote, including voters between the ages of 18 and 29, increased nationally this year to 19 percent from 18 percent in the 2008 election, according to the National Exit Poll conducted by Edison Research.

For many students, this election marked their first time voting. Sophomore pre-business major Dominique McDaniel said he felt empowered to vote for the first time because it made him feel like he was finally able to have his political voice heard.

“I was making a decision that could possibly affect the United States,” he said.

Other students felt that their votes had more effect on statewide propositions.

Proposition 30, which directly affected higher education, was one reason why art majors Lauren Freeman and Daniela Gonzalez decided to cast a vote this November. Freeman said that she cared more about voting for the propositions than for the actual presidential seat at stake.

“I cared about the issues, especially Prop. 30, because the results were going to directly affect me,” Gonzalez said.

Edison Research’s exit poll also concluded that Obama received 60 percent of the youth vote while Romney had received 36 percent.

Associated Students Inc. Secretary for City Affairs Allison Gallagher said via email that she believes that most of the youth vote went to Obama because 18- to 29-year-olds tend to be more liberal, especially on college campuses.

She said she believes that by the youth increasing, politicians will learn to take the younger voter block seriously and listen to their needs as citizens.

“The fact that more 18- to 29-years-olds are voting is extremely promising,” Gallagher said. “Hopefully students continue to exercise their right as a citizen and are more aware of the impact they have.”

Sophomore biology major Elton Adricula said he voted for Obama because he felt he could relate to him the best, and he felt that Obama’s policies most closely fit his beliefs.

“Obama has policies that favor students and minorities who are largely outcasted,” he said.

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