JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -The state’s young voters are hoping their peers will turnout and vote in large numbers on the November 27.
Millsaps College students are adding some extra homework to their schedules and learning more about the Senate runoff candidates. It’s the first election cycle that some of the students have been eligible to vote and they’re buying into the #It’s Your Time that’s on the Millsaps Votes signs around campus.
“It’s very important to be active right now because what we do now is going to affect how we live in the future," said freshman Blaise Zeitler. "For young people, I think it’s more important than anything to go vote.”
WLBT asked around to see what issues these young voters were interested in learning more about during Thursday’s town hall with Democrat Mike Espy.
“There’s not a lot of stuff that really affects me but school safety is one," noted 18-year-old Nelson Washington. "I would like to hear what he says about all the school shootings that are going on. I see a lot of politicians not really talking about it.”
“What I’m most interested in hearing about is if he’ll be getting some of the federal money to help the infrastructure,” added Zeitler.
A Democracy fellowship was established on the Millsaps, Southern Miss, and Jackson State campuses this year. Political Science Department co-chair Nathan Shrader says that’s gone a long way in boosting student participation.
“We saw during the November 6 election all over the country that early numbers show that turnout among voters who are 18-35 was considerably higher than at any point in midterm elections, probably going back decades," said Shrader. "There is this level of interest and enthusiasm there. What it comes down to is just really, tapping into it.”
Recent headlines are adding fuel to the fire for some young voters wishing to see change.
“I wish it would be addressed more from both sides how race in politics is becoming a really serious issue and it’s not a partisan issue," explained sophomore Brenna Michel. "It’s not an issue of age or gender. Racism in politics is really becoming prominent and I am not here for that.”
Senate candidate Mike Espy has accepted an invitation from Mississippi Farm Bureau to debate Republican opponent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Nov. 20 on WLBT.