A look at young voters in Dougherty County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

A look at young voters in Dougherty County

November 27, 2007

Albany--  The next presidential election is less than a year away. One group the candidates are targeting?  Young voters. Candidates are using MySpace, Facebook and even You Tube to appeal to the younger crowds.

On any campus around the United States, you're sure to find differing opinions. Between two Albany State University students and friends Tuesday, we found a political one. We asked them if they were registered to vote.

"I am registered to vote," said LaJohnda Johnson.

"No I am not," said Keshia Gass.

ASU Senior LaJohnda Johnson has been voting since the age of 18. "Because once upon a time, we as African-Americans were not allowed to vote and they fought for us to vote so now that we have the opportunity, we must take that chance," said Johnson.

But her friend Keshia Gass doesn't see the point. "I just don't see the point in registering to vote because people are going to choose what they want to do anyway," said Gass.

Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher watches voting numbers closely. As of November, the group with the most number of registered voters is 65 and over. That stands at 8,206. "The next highest is the 18 to 24 year olds with 6,305," said Hatcher.

Although the number of registered young voters is high, their turnout at the polls doesn't match. "The younger people do not vote as often as the older people," said Hatcher.

So what does it take to get young voters to the polls? Some say they just need a reason to and that's up to who they'll be voting for.

"I think the people that get folks out to vote are the candidates and until people realize that their vote is important and what those candidates are out there telling them what they're going to do for them or not do, is what's going to get people out to vote," said Hatcher.

Johnson is counting down the days until she can vote in the November election. She already knows what she's looking for in a leader. "I really want someone who is really here for the people," said Johnson.

But Gass still isn't convinced her vote would matter.

"Why don't you think your vote is going to make a difference," we asked.  Gass said, "Because nobody else's vote made a difference."

"Of course it does," said Johnson, "I see the results all the time." The proof will come in the form of votes come November and election leaders are hoping to see more young ones.

"There's no excuse not to vote," said Hatcher.

You can register to vote at the City County Building on Pine Avenue. You can also register when you get a driver's license.  

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