Youth united


Serena Omangi

Taylore Wagner, Victoria Dietz and Sophia Gieseke demostrate the 18-24 age demographic and voting rate

Julia Hansen, Writer

When teenagers turn into adults, they encounter many new responsibilities. One of which involves voting, a major controversial decision that affects everyone in different ways. Voting is a way for citizens to have a voice in the way things are run in the world they live in. Many 18-24 year old’s do not realize how their one vote can make an impact on the outcome of the officials who control all sorts of regulations.

Registering to vote may seem intimidating, complicated, or too much work for some people who do not see value in voting. However, with the right instructions, it can be quite easy. Many cities require newly eligible voters to fill out an application on their state’s voter registration website or pick up an application from a county elections office, and mail it to the secretary of state’s office. When the election comes around, all voters have to do is bring a valid state driver’s license and they should already be in the system when the state approves the application. Senior Liam Miller said, “I am not sure if I am going to vote because I don’t know where to go to vote or how to register.” Once first-time voters realize how simple the process is, they may be more inclined to register.

An additional problem is that many young voters are not informed about the candidates running and the values they stand for. Most young adults do not keep up with the latest news on who is running for a position and why they are valuable for that spot. Reasons for this is because they just do not think it affects them directly or is relevant to them in their daily life. Once they get older and their job or lifestyle is affected by who is running, then adults start to get more involved. Most students entering college are more concerned with school and their personal future, making candidates for elections not an interest for them at that time. Why young people don’t vote from The Economist said, “In 2010 the turnout of people aged 18 to 24 was just 21%.”

I am not sure if I am going to vote because I don’t know where to go to vote or how to register.

— Liam Miller

While away at college this age demographic can still vote using absentee voting. Absentee voting allows a voter to request an absentee ballot be sent to the voter by mail. Once completed, the voter returns the ballot to the county board of elections before the ballot return deadline. Early voting is started on  March 29 in Steele County, download the application and submit it to the Steele County Auditor’s Office. Once receiving the ballot by mail, voters can send it back by mail or drop it off in person at the Steele County Auditor’s Office at 630 Florence Avenue, Owatonna. Another option is going in person to the office, completing the absentee ballot application, and then casting the vote right then and there. Absentee early voting hours are March 29 to May 10 from Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday, May 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voting, however, is vital to not only a country but to states, counties and cities as well. Most officials run their position based on how citizens think things should be done to benefit the population. Voting helps get the majority of people’s views and needs to be met. People can vote in Minnesota if they are a U.S citizen, at least 18 years old on Election Day, a resident of Minnesota for 20 days, and finished with all parts of any felony sentence.

In Steele County, click here to register online or here to register on paper, and find all the available polling locations here.