Stateside
11:48 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What will get "millennials" into the voting booth?

“With our generation and having Twitter and Facebook, we are blasted with a lot of the 24 hour news cycle
Credit Theresa Thompson / Flickr

The curtain is closing on baby boomers, as the so-called "millennial generation" is taking up a larger share of the electorate. This voting block surpasses seniors who are eligible to vote.

But many millennials are not politically engaged.

“We feel that as one voice, as a younger person, we don’t have a lot of say in politics and I think that also drives their decision to remain out of the discussion as well,” said Connor Walby, a millennial and the campaign manager for State Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey.

Walby also said the negative messages in politics that are seen on social media affect millennials' decision to vote as well.

“With our generation and having Twitter and Facebook, we are blasted with a lot of the 24 hour news cycle. And with that you also get a lot of the negative news coverage,” Walby said.  “I think a lot of our generation is pretty sick and tired of some of the policies that have been put in place and they are just sick of the politicians and the political atmosphere in general.”

Curtis Audette is also a millennial and the President of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats.

He said that millennials are more skeptical of negative adds that tell you why your should not vote for someone versus why you should vote for them.

“We often discuss values we share, whether it be equal protections for everyone or protecting our environment, and if we want to advance these values we need to support candidates who share these same ideals,” Audette said.

So how can elected officials appeal to this generation? And what issues do millennials want addressed?

Walby suggested that politicians reach out to voters through Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram to show that their voice and issues does matter to them.

Audette said that millennials are most concerned with equality issues, college tuition and debt, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

“Ballot proposals and initiatives can really bring out young voters to vote,” Audette said. “Millennials see this as an opportunity or chance to personally create change and enact direct action.”

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