November 3, 2010
Young Voters More Subdued in Midterm Elections
Young people voted Tuesday in somewhat smaller numbers, compared to the previous midterm election in 2006.
Eleven percent of those casting ballots were between ages 18-29, according to a national exit poll conducted by Edison Research. The percentage is a slight decrease from 2006, when 12 percent of voters were in that age bracket.
Most young people who cast ballots this year voted Democratic, about 6 in 10, according to the exit poll. That is slightly more modest support than those voters gave candidate Barack Obama in 2008.
Crown Heights resident Ojore Fowler voted at Public School 22 in the late afternoon. He said it was his second time voting. He said he forgot the name of the candidate he voted for but it was “the rent is too God damn high guy.”
“My mom told me I should vote for everybody in the ‘A’ [Democratic] column so I could help out Obama,” said Fowler, who works in baggage claim at John F. Kennedy Airport.
Samuel Europe Jr., 21-year-old public administration student at Medgar Evers College in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was one of those who didn’t vote Tuesday.
Europe Jr., who lives in East New York, said he voted in 2008 but that this time, with school and work, voting wasn’t one of his priorities.
“This time around, I don’t care to be as informed as I was back then,” he said. “Nothing personal.”
Jaritza Geigel, 19, worked since Sunday with other young people to spread the word about the election. Geigel is an intern organizer for the Youth Power Project, a group organized by Make the Road NY (MRNY), which promotes economic justice for New Yorkers.
On Sunday, a group of its members called people to remind them to vote on Tuesday, from the top of the ballot all the way down. Yesterday, other members – mostly high school students and some college students – stood in front of polling sites armed with leaflets to remind people to vote.
Geigel spent most of Tuesday passing out leaflets in front of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council in Bushwick, near a polling site.
Geigel said most of the people who went to vote during the morning and early afternoon were older, which reflects the age group of residents in the area. She said she hadn’t seen many young people, however.
“A lot of young people are either not registered or don’t feel like their voice counts,” she said.
Before voting, Geigel said she studied which candidates carried the values that she supports. She said she voted mostly Democratic.
More on: Community and Electoral Organizing