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Students aren't represented across the board

Assistant News Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 00:02

The race for governor has students buzzing with talk of elections that may reflect in the voting polls come November.

The trends reflected in last year’s polls at the Huntsville City Council Ward 2 elections have shown a significantly lower number of voting students than the national average, according to voter registrar Kendall Scudder.

As of 2012, 45 percent of college-aged people actively voted in elections, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

According Scudder, less than 10 percent of voters in the Ward 2 elections were college-aged.

“It is hard to determine an exact number because you can only go off of age,” Scudder said. “I’d estimate the number to be around … 10 percent or less.”

These numbers reflect a deficit in young voters as Ward 2 primarily consists of college students from Sam Houston State University. Trends indicate that these numbers are continuing to fall, according to Scudder and voting trends gathered by CIRCLE.

Despite making up 21 percent of the eligible voting population, according to Project Vote, voters between 18 and 29 only made up 17 percent of actual voters in 2008.

In addition, in 2012, 58 million millennials made up a quarter of the entire voting age population, according to the Huffington Post. Yet, in that same year only an estimated 23 million, or 19 percent of the total voting population, voted.

“Part of the reason students don’t show up [to vote] is that they are treated like a blanket demographic,” Scudder said. “Politicians want to look at students as group with no diversity or differences in ideology.”

With more and more students becoming disenchanted by the voting process, Scudder provided a few suggestions to regain their attention.

“One way to regain voters would be to stop gerrymandering them, so they will know where to go to vote,” Scudder said. “Another thing we could do is raise $2,500 to put a voting box in the Lowman Student Center.”

As turn out numbers continue to fall in Huntsville, Scudder pushed for students to remain active in their community and to make their voices heard.

Students can register to vote in Walker County at www.co.walker.tx.us.

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