Elections are around the corner and students are challenged to stay politically informed along with their academics.
According to Public Policy Institute of California, young voters between the age of 18 to 34 only make up 18% of likely voters compared to 45% of Californians above 55 years old.
Kim Nalder Government Professor and founder of the Project for an Informed Electorate at Sacramento State confirmed the PPIC’s statistics.
“In general young people don’t participate at the same rates as older people do,” said Nalder. “Maybe we should be able to text our votes,” she said jokingly.
While Nalder confirmed the lack of young voters, groups like College Republicans and College Democrats at Sac State are working to change that.
“I don’t find that the electorate in general is well informed to the extent they should be on every issue but I do have confidence that there is a level of awareness present that allows for an educated decision to be made,” said Lauren Lombardo Chair for College Republicans and ASI President.
Lombardo said that while some students in the club are not as knowledgeable about each candidate or ballot initiative, they do understand the main differences between the two candidates or viewpoints.
College Democrats at Sac State has been working on getting individuals working on the campaigns for different initiatives and candidates to come speak to its members, said Wyatt Mince Vice President of Communications.
“We are tying to make sure that they understand what is being presented to them in a clear and concise matter” said Mince.
Luke Bauman, 19, Philosophy Major said he was well informed when asked about the election. Bauman said the common theme amongst younger voters was to fall in line with the norm of the political party.
“Stay informed and be willing to voice your opinion,” said Bauman.
Professor Nalder also addressed some of the misconceptions she has found in many students. One them being that you must fill out the whole ballot in order to vote, she said.
“They think that you need to fill out everything so they don’t bother” said Nalder. “Maybe it comes from taking exams” she said.
Students also have a misconception about government impacting their lives when in reality it is impacting them every minute, said Nalder.
Sulma Jimenez, 18, Spanish and Social Work Double Majors is an exception when it comes to understanding how government is impacting her life.
“We are at an age where we are able to make changes by voting for us and impacting those around us, especially for Hispanics,” said Jimenez.
Lombardo also understood the impact of her vote at a young age.
“It may not seem like it matters now, but it matters for the preservation of the values this country was founded on,” said Lombardo.
Students with questions on regarding the ballot initiatives are encouraged to attend the PIE Initiative Explainer event on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Sacramento Public Library.
Experts from the Legislative Analyst’s Office will be there to go through each initiative and the PIE will provide data on endorsements and campaign finance, said Nalder.
“I would like to see our students be the ones to break that pattern of young people not voting,” said Nalder.