Experts say issues, not candidates, will spur young vote


ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - Young voters could make the difference in this year's elections.  People under 30 have historically voted at lower rates than older age groups.  

The last two months young adults have made their voices heard on the streets. Political parties, grassroots organization and candidates are trying to get them to march to the ballot box.

"We like to say that justice is on the ballot for August 4th," says Milkayla Allen, Electoral Justice Organizer for Action St. Louis, a grassroots racial justice organization, "we have the opportunity to make real change in our communities, make real waves in our communities."

What KMOX was told by everyone we interviewed for these reports is that younger generations do care deeply, but they're frustrated.  Their focus is on issues, not necessarily candidates.

Naeem Jenkins-Nixon, Political Director for the Missouri Democratic Party says young people are interested in traditional party pillars -- health care, the environment, access to jobs -- but they care about them in a different way.  "I think young people are saying we shouldn't have to get to this point in order for us to recongnize where these inequities are.  We need to address them.  There's a frustration with how slow the process is."

Related:  Insiders say social media is key to young vote 

Experts hope young people on the streets, march to the polls

"This generation wants to see what they view as more equality of opportunity," explains Jean Evans, Executive Director for the Missouri Republican Party.

The key will be connecting them with folks on the ballot.

Milkayla Allen says for young voters it may be issues -- not candidates -- that drive them to the polls.


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