Young voters remain a challenge -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Young voters remain a challenge

September 27, 2006

Albany-- If you want to vote in November, you must be registered by October 10th.  That's less than two weeks away. Candidates are about to ramp up their campaigns to encourage you to vote but many young people don't listen. There's a challenge getting young voters to the polls.

If you ask many college students one popular question for this time of year, you may or may not be surprised at what you hear. "Do you vote? No. Are you registered to vote? No," says student Jaimie Frazier.

Some have different reasons for choosing not to vote. "Religious reasons," says Frazier. Others say voting is the only option for them.

"So I can get my opinions out in the open for everything that I want," says Dennis Turner.

KeiKei Johnson has been registered to vote since she was 17 and voting since she was 18.  She feels her one vote can make a difference.

"Maybe. It's a possibility that it will," says Johnson. But others aren't as optimistic. "I'm afraid to say that the younger people do not vote in the quantities that the older folks do," says Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher.

The good news is this.  More than 7,000 voters between the ages of 18 and 24 are registered to vote and more than 4,000 between 25 and 29 are also registered.  That makes up 25 percent of Dougherty County voters.  The bad news? Many don't show up at the polls.

"Why register if you're not going to vote?," says Hatcher. It's a question that Hatcher has every election but she does have one possible answer or solution to the problem.

"Quite frankly I think it's up to the candidates. The candidates are the ones that get people to vote, the issues and the candidates," says Hatcher. Some younger voters say even the issues don't get some out to vote.

"It's not important to them. It just doesn't really matter to them," says Jessica Wallace. But it does matter to students like KeiKei Johnson.  She says she'll definitely be there on November 7th.

"I know I will," says Johnson. She'll be casting a vote and hoping that others will follow suit.

 You can register to vote at age 17 1/2 and can vote if you turn 18 by election day. Absentee voting has already started and advanced voting will be October 30th.



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