In March, thousands of high school students walked out in protest across the country after the Parkland school shooting.
Graduating students pledged to vote and this November will be their first opportunity to cast a ballot. But, will they show up?
OSU Professor Emeritus of Political Science Paul Beck said candidates are counting on them.
“Young people in mid-term elections usually turn out in very low rates,” he said. “It’s been a real problem, especially for the Democrats.”
Rachel Zinram, a freshman at Ohio State, participated in the National School Walkout after Parkland.
“It was the first time I had a voice during a protest and I was like, yeah, I like knowing I can do something that will make a change,” Zinram said.
Shortly after, she registered to vote and voted early over fall break.
“It means that my voice is heard,” she said.
Zinram’s not involved in politics, but she did some canvassing of her own… In her dorm room.
“I’ve actually got all my roommates to register to vote. They weren’t before,” she said.
Zinram voted early. But will other young voters make it to the polls by Nov. 6?
“We won’t know for sure until the Election Day,” said Beck.
“The depressed turnout by comparison to older voters among the young has been with us for a long time and it matters because what we know from polls is young Americans today are much more supportive of Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. But if they don’t turn out to vote it doesn’t matter,” he said.
The Franklin County Board of Elections said 25,000, 18 to 24-year-olds had registered to vote in Franklin County in 2018 alone.
Starting Friday, OSU Votes will begin bussing students to the Franklin County Board of Elections to vote early.
“We have the capacity to send about 900 students to vote early,” said Alyssa Johnson with OSU Votes.
Zinram said she thinks her peers will make their voices heard.
“Young people do care.”