Unregistered voters declining; young voters increasing

By Caitlin LaFarlette
On September 20, 2012

President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney are gearing up for this years election with continuous campaigning, but are voters geared up?
In 2010, 51 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 were not registered to vote.

However, the political activity among younger voters has been firing up since President Obama has been in office.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2008 to 2010 the number of voters 18- to 20-years-old increased from 225 million to 229 million.

There are still many who havent registered to vote though. The student Republicans and Democrats on campus are doing what they can to reach out to students to encourage them to vote, but some remain uninterested.

Marithza Hernandez, a freshman of Paragould whose major is undecided, said she isnt very up to date on the election this year and has never registered.

I told myself I would, but I guess I just havent, she said.

Hernandez said she is reconsidering her decision to sign up.

If you are of age you should register and vote, she said. If you have a say, why not?

For some, it is merely a matter of inconvenience. Elizabeth White, a freshman political science major of Pine Bluff, said she didnt register because she moved to college.

I knew I was coming up to Jonesboro, she said.

White said it would be easier to register here instead of having to drive back to Pine Bluff to vote. She is currently in the process of registering.

The elections this year have made White look into the campaigns of Romney and Obama.

This election is what determines a lot of big issues, she said.

White is an Independent and said her vote will go to the candidate whose promises line up more with her beliefs.
Wilson Cole, a senior interdisciplinary studies major of Harrisburg, has registered to vote. He was motivated to register because he is involved with participants of the Special Olympics.

I want to make sure they have the best quality life, he said.

Cole said he thinks many people dont know how to register and therefore dont even try.

Its our duty, Cole said about the importance of registering. It affects the whole community.

Marketing major Chris Glover, a sophomore of Memphis, Tenn., is also registered.

I wanted to at least have an input because one vote can change the outcome, he said.

Glover advised other students to register so their opinions can be broadcast.

He said he thinks many young people dont register because they dont have certain responsibilities, such as jobs, that connect them to politics.

They dont understand how things work yet, he said.

However, Jean Hagen, Craighead County deputy clerk, said there has been an increase this year in younger voters.

Despite this, a lack of active voters remains to be a problem.

We have people who are registered but dont actually vote, Hagen said.

Hagen said the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library is one place to register.

Students can also visit the county clerks office at 511 South Main St. for an application.

I know a lot of people are hesitant to register because of jury duty, Hagen said. They dont need to let that stop them.

Being a registered voter is not the only way to be called for jury duty.

Arkansas courts also pull from drivers license listings, meaning an unregistered voter may still be called to

To become a registered voter visit www.gottaregister.com.

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