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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Recent study shows youth vote critical to midterm election

‘This is the most consequential election of our lifetime and we need some of the most powerful voices to step up,’ Wisconsin Assembly Member says
Emily Kriner-Woodworth

A recent Tufts study shows that the youth vote will be critical to Wisconsin’s midterm elections. The study’s statewide Youth Electoral Significance Index (YESI) ranked Wisconsin number one for its gubernatorial race and fifth for its senate race.

The study considers people aged 18 to 29 as youth, and this age group makes up 16% of Wisconsin’s population. People in this age range have had an above-average voter registration and turnout rate in recent elections, according to the study.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director, Matt Rothschild said in an email statement to The Badger Herald that an increase in youth voters could have significant impacts on the election.


“The X factor this election is the turnout of voters in the 18-25 range,” Rothschild said. “They typically don’t turn out in huge numbers, and pollsters undercount them in the ‘likely voter’ category. If they turn out in high numbers this time, spurred on by the abortion issue, they could defy the pollsters and provide a pleasant surprise for the Democrats.”

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University of Wisconsin third-year student, Kyleigh Olmstead said U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would encourage many young people to vote. 

Gov. Tony Evers has said on multiple occasions and on his campaign website that he is supportive of abortion rights. His opponent, Tim Michels said in the Republican primary that he supported the 1849 abortion ban but later changed his stance, saying he would grant exceptions to the ban in cases of rape and incest.

Olmstead said her stance on abortion will be the biggest factor in deciding who she will vote for.

“I’m excited to vote in the midterms because there are a lot of issues going on now about women’s rights and the right to an abortion,” Olmstead said. “That’s one of the biggest issues right now.”

Potential changes in marijuana legislation may also be an incentive for young people to vote, Olmstead said.

In this election, the youth vote will have a lot of power if they turn out, according to Olmstead. 

“It’s important for young people to vote this year because they’re the ones these policies are probably going to affect the most,” Olmstead said. “And we’re such a large demographic that if more of us vote, we can have an impact on who’s elected.

Wisconsin State Assembly District 76 Rep. Francesca Hong (D-Madison) said she thinks the young voting bloc is extremely powerful in Wisconsin.

It’s important for young voters to know their vote counts, Hong said.

The upcoming election could be contentious enough to be decided by only a few votes in some counties. Since older politicians make policies that will affect young people’s futures, it’s vital for young people to make their voices heard and their votes count, according to Hong.

“This is the most consequential election of our lifetime, and we need some of the most powerful voices to step up,” Hong said. “Those are young voices. Young people are critical thinkers, and I think [they] care about what happens to their future,”

Wisconsin counties with large youth populations hold an advantage as they have a stronger influence on election results than ever before, according to the Tufts study. 

Campus Vote Project begins student registration, early voting for midterm election on campus

Voting can be difficult for young people, but the greater community can do a lot to support them through the process, Hong said.

UW has worked to increase education surrounding early voting and registration. The university’s involvement in voter registration and voting sites is critical, Hong said.

Politicians and community members must understand that young people are very busy, which can keep them from the polls. Because of this, it is critical that there are on-campus voting sites, Hong said.

“Young people have to prioritize the fact that they’re trying to get through school, maybe a job, look at their future and their career,” Hong said. “However, we know that young people are savvy and find creative ways to engage. The more agency we can give them in ensuring they have the power to vote I think they’ll still find ways to turn out.”

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UW is holding in-person absentee voting and voter registration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., throughout the weekdays, from Tuesday, Oct. 25, to Friday, Nov. 4, at Memorial Union and Union South. The Eagle Heights Community Center is also hosting in-person absentee voting and voter registration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, and Friday, Nov. 4, according to their voting information website. For regular Election Day voting, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at assigned polling places

U.S. citizens, 18 years of age or older, who are not currently serving a felony sentence and have been a resident of Wisconsin for at least 28 consecutive days before Election Day are eligible to vote within the state. 

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