Pundits discuss whether young voters will shun the midterm elections

Pundits discuss whether young voters will shun the midterm elections

Early voting kicks off Tuesday in Louisiana for the November 4 election, and in tight races like the U.S. Senate contest, candidates are trying to appeal to young voters who usually do not see voting in the mid-term election as a big priority."You have to think about the people that came before us and sacrificed so much in order to gain the right to be able to vote and exercise their free will and to have their voices heard and I think it's very important that we do a same," said Dr. Brit Martin, a young voter.But not far away on Magazine Street another young voter has decided she will not cast ballots on November 4."I'm not just going to pick someone because someone told me 'vote for my friend,'" she said.

So you're planning to sit this one out?

"Yes, ma'am," said Meagan Kaupp.

But her friend Kimberly Hirstius said she will vote.

"Definitely, I feel like you should definitely look in to it more and what their background is and who is running for what," she said.

But history has shown that young voters including "millennials" do not have a strong affinity for mid-term elections. That age group is put between 18 and 34 years of age.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau voting rates from 1964 to 2012 for voters 18 to 24 dropped from 50.9 percent in 1964 to 38 percent in 2012.

"It's true, I didn't vote in 2008 even though I was a legal voter then," said Millennial Joe Steed.

Steed does plan to vote this November.

"Nothing changes if you don't vote, so," he said.

"A mid-term election is a lot different than a presidential election, when we have a presidential candidate, more than one presidential candidate really trying to mobilize young voters with a lot of money to mobilize them to get them out to vote," said Professor Sean Cain, Ph.D., who teaches political science at Loyola University

And according to the Pew Research Center 50 percent of millennials describe themselves as political independents.

"Amongst the Millennial generation there are a lot more independent voters and independent voters are less motivated by mid-term elections," said Dr. Cain.

Pollster and political analyst Silas Lee, Ph.D., said since every vote counts campaigns are reaching out to young voters however possible, including social media.

However, he said in some states voting laws will be a deterrent for young voters.

"You have strict voter I-D laws and for people who are mobile, quite often registration information may not match the information that might be on the ID," said Dr. Lee.

Now some young voters suggested that more of them would be willing to vote if it were made easier, like having the ability to cast a ballot using their cell phone.

"Easy like you could do it on your phone perhaps," said Steed.

But Dr. Lee said security would be a big concern. However, he believes that kind of voting technology will eventually become reality.

"I think that is something that we will have in the future. We have to because more and more people are dependent on technology to engage in the voting process," said Lee.

Dr. Cain said if young voters shun the mid-term elections in big numbers the democratic party has the most to lose as control of the U.S. Senate is on the line.

In Louisiana, early voting is from October 21-28.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.