BOISE, Idaho — A non-partisan volunteer project aims to empower young adults to take ownership of their lives and futures by encouraging them to vote. The project is called "What the Vote! Idaho and some local teenagers are spearheading the effort.
In 2020, millennials and Gen Z will make up almost 40 percent of the electorate. A video from What the Vote! Idaho says a lot more of the older generation is voting. The Idaho state voter registration system shows in the last two presidential elections, more than 70 percent of the vote was from Idahoans over 40.
In the 2012 election, 18 to 24-year-olds made up only about eight percent of the vote, and in 2016, only 6.7 percent.
“My age, a lot of 18-year-olds are still in high school, so they’re still living with their parents and stuff like that, but I think it’s important to inform people about how much it will affect us in the future, and I think that’s why it’s important to vote - I think it’s good to have a say in what’s going to happen," said Hailey Leach, a student representative for What the Vote! Idaho.
We've yet to see the totals of this year's election, but these teens want to make sure it does not keep declining in Idaho.
“The youth gets super mixed up on whether their vote really truly matters, and it most definitely does, and so that’s the message that we’re trying to get across," said Natalya Solberg, another student representative.
That is why they are on the student advisory council with What the Vote! Idaho. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic, they are being forced to get a little creative.
"It's kind of hard because we can't have people go into class and talk with the students," said Liam Viano.
So they are sharing Public Service Announcements with their Instagram friends, classmates, and all the young adults they know. The non-partisan project wants to do more than just encourage voting, they want to point others to fact-checking resources, registration information, and more.
For more information on What the Vote! Idaho, click here.