Reporter Rachael Jones spoke to older voters and election officials in Reno who strongly recommend younger voters make their voices heard on Election Day by going to the ballot box.
Students lined for early voting at all hours at the University of Nevada, Reno, during the early voting process. Photo by Rachael Jones
Beware of Not Voting?
Election day on Tuesday is fast approaching now and voting has been a topic of discussion especially with young voters and their desire to vote.
Some people don’t understand the importance of voting and decide just not to vote. Registered voters may have too many things going on, don’t have a voting booth nearby, or they simply don’t believe their vote matters.
“The law had just changed legal age to 18 when I was 18-years-old,” Leslie Carter, a 60-year-old, Pennsylvania-born, woman who has lived in Reno for 35 years now remembers. “I voted because it was cool,” she said. She still thinks voting is cool.
She planned on voting after work.
When asked why she thinks young voters don’t vote, she responded by saying that she didn’t think that young people realize how much power they really have.
Carter thinks that young voters don’t really think about what they want society to be like in the future, their future … the future where they have a good job, a house, family, and kids.
“One day they [the young voters] will care [about not voting] and regret not keeping a person in or out of office. I vote because I care,” she said.
A screengrab for the official Washoe County Registrar of Voters.
Impact on Your Life
“[Voting] actually impacts your life on the daily basis and it’s important for them [young voters] to learn that if you don’t go and vote … you don’t have that voice,” said Deanna Spikula, who runs the Registrar of Voters for Washoe County.
Spikula wanted to remind younger voters the ballot is a secret ballot. She said she expects to see a 50% increase of voter turnout compared to the primary voting in this election cycle. According to Fairvote.org, usually there’s only about a 40% voter turnout for midterm elections. For presidential elections, it’s around 60%.
Ellen Scully, a full-time spa supervisor, said she found the time to vote. Photo by Rachael Jones
Hypocrites Don’t Vote?
Ellen Scully, a 27-year-old Silver Legacy spa supervisor, was glad to report she voted during early voting.
She said she thinks that voting is important to keep “the majority values from being undermined.”
“If I didn’t vote and I’m angry about an elected official, I feel like I would be a hypocrite and my emotions wouldn’t be valid,” Scully said.
Scully said she thinks that young voters don’t vote because they either don’t care or they just don’t have the time since most fresh out of high school students are either working full time, in school, or both.
Some students mention their own lack of time and of voting booths close by as reasons for not voting.
A text message sent out by Vote.Org to a student. But the student’s message that the suggested polling place was far got no response. Voters in Washoe County can vote at any polling station.
Voting for a Reason
“I want to see Nevada grow the right way,” said Patrick Brodrick, a 20-year-old Truckee Meadows Community College student, who was waiting in line for early voting. He said he was voting because he wants to see improvements especially when it comes to environmental policies.
Brodrick mentioned that he didn’t care much to vote when he was younger because he never received any education on voting and the importance of voting in school before reaching legal voting age.
He said the only reason he started voting at 18 was because his mom made him. Afterwards, he remembers, he really did feel like he had input and he says he’s been voting ever since.
Reporting by Rachael Jones shared with the Reynolds Sandbox