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Young Americans Traditionally Don’t Vote. Will That Change In 2020?

The State We're In screenshot. Image credit: The State We're In Facebook page/ WMFE / WUSF Public Media

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About ten percent of Americans are eligible to vote in their first presidential election. But historically, young voters are the least likely age group to cast a ballot. In 2016, fewer than half of Americans younger than 30 voted.

St. Petersburg College student Dwayne-Ron Sharpe says the general election will be his first time voting, but he says some of his peers are not doing the same.

“I hear students say ‘I’m not going to vote. It doesn’t make any sense. My voice doesn’t matter.’ And then I think to myself in my head, how many times has that been said, how many hundreds of thousands, millions of times across the country has that been said?”

Sharpe said racial justice is a key issue for him. That’s a topic the left-leaning Global Strategy Group says could push more young voters to the polls in battleground states like Florida.

Sharpe was a guest yesterday on The State We’re In – a Facebook Live show from WUSF and WMFE in Orlando, along with WMFE reporter Abe Aboraya.

23 Million U.S. Immigrants Able To Vote in 2020

More than twenty-three million immigrants are eligible to vote in the 2020 election. That includes Sharpe, who registered to vote at his recent citizenship swearing-in ceremony.

As he’s getting ready to vote for the first time in the U.S., Sharpe says he’s relying on friends for information about important issues. The native of Jamaica also double-checks political news stories before believing what is said.

“So, I’m still getting my feet wet,” said Sharpe.

“I’m just trying to take it in right now to see how I can best understand it and figure out where to place my votes to make sure that not just me, but my community is served.”

Despite the threat of COVID-19, Sharpe says he wants his first time voting to be in person.

To see the full conversation, visit The State We’re In Facebook page.

The State We’re In is part of America Amplified, a national reporting initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


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