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Virginia Tech expert and students talk about expectation of young voter turnout on Election Day

Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall on Monday. WDBJ7 spoke with students and an expert about young...
Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall on Monday. WDBJ7 spoke with students and an expert about young voting expectations on November 2nd.(Will Thomas)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Young voters came out in historic numbers for the 2020 Presidential Election. But Virginia Tech Political Science Professor Karen Hult said she doesn’t expect that to be the same for 2021.

“The enthusiasm for this election is certainly much less than it was in the Presidential, which is not that surprising. Moreover, I think there has been some voter fatigue, especially among younger people as well as among older people.”

Hult believes that might also be because young voters aren’t seeing candidates campaign on issues that they care about.

“Top on that list for many is climate change and we’ve not seen either of the statewide candidates devote quite as much attention as some would like to see.”

On Virginia Tech’s campus Monday, when speaking with more than a dozen students, many admitted they didn’t plan on voting, but some also aren’t eligible to in Virginia (out-of-state residents and international students).

For one VT sophomore, Kwasi Ntiamoah-Mafoh, the 2020 election was his first time voting.

“I would always see my parents go out and get the “I voted” sticker and I was like, I really want to be like that. It kind of felt empowering and I liked knowing I was making a difference.”

A year later, that feeling hasn’t changed.

“It’s never offseason to be honest. You always have to stay engaged with your community and you always have to do what you feel is right, and voting is what’s right.”

Ntiamoah-Mafoh said he makes it a priority to show his friends the importance of getting out to vote.

Hult said though young voter turnout is expected to be lower this year, their votes could still be significant in deciding races.

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