Rock the Vote President says young people aren’t apathetic but lack understanding of voting process

Rock the Vote President Carolyn DeWitt argues that young Americans aren’t apathetic about voting, but instead lack an understanding of how voting works.

While voter turnout is traditionally low among young people, DeWitt emphasized during an interview with “Rising” that aired on Monday that the public often forgets that many of these voters are brand new to the process.

“There’s a misnomer that young people are apathetic and not passionate – they’re incredibly passionate about the issues, they just need help actually understanding the process,” DeWitt told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

Voting rates among 18- to 24-year-olds for all elections dropped from 51 percent in 1964 to 38 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The bureau also found that voters in this same age group have voted in lower rates than all other age groups in every presidential election for the past 54 years.

But the Rock the Vote president said young voters just require a little more direction when it comes to getting them to the polls in the midterm elections.

“For young people, it’s a lot of walking them through the steps, so helping them identify their polling locations, if their state even has early voting, what’s on their sample ballot for example and then discerning who and what actually aligns with their values,” she told Hill.TV.

“Rock the Vote,” which identifies itself as a nonpartisan and nonprofit group, has an election center that centralizes voting information like polling location in states across the country.

DeWitt said the group has created early vote rallies to make the voting process more social, and partnered with social apps like Tinder to reach more young voters.

With just two weeks away until midterms, DeWitt said there’s still a lot of work to be done, but she is optimistic about voter turnout among young Americans, citing the level of engagement in the group’s election reminder program.

“We’ve seen engagement rates with that program go up more than 3,000 percent under our texting program and more than 700 percent in our email,” she said.

— Tess Bonn

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