Young voters showing less enthusiam in 2012

12:32 AM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
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  • Early voters cast their vote at the University Center on campus
  • Campaigners make last minute calls to voters from the Knox County GOP headquarters

Election officials report a different attitude among one group of voters heading into the 2012 presidential election.

A recent poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics shows President Obama is still a leading choice among young voters aged 18-29, but enthusiasm among the demographic has dropped.

Less than half of those voters said they weren't sure if they would cast a ballot this year.

Knox County Administrator of Elections Clifford Rodgers, said early voter turnout at the University Center on UT's campus was much lower this year, when compared to the 2008 election numbers.

"We saw the numbers were at about 40 percent of what they were at UT from four years ago," Rodgers said. "So that figure really surprised me."

Former Election Administrator Greg Mackay points to a number of reasons why:

"I think it's a little bit different when you're running as a challenger and when you're running as incumbent," he said, referring to the Obama campaign. "And I think, on the other side, the Romney camp hasn't inspired the college people either."

Justin Hickerson is a UT junior and president of the UT College Republicans. Though he campaigns for Romney, his first goal is to motivate his peers to cast a ballot.

"It's very important to get them to vote, period. It doesn't matter if they're voting for Romney or Obama - straight Democrat or straight Republican. We're trying to reach out to everybody and get all young people excited,"

For Hickerson, that means long hours at the Knox County GOP headquarters placing calls to potential voters, and organizing activities on campus.

"I think there's still going to be a lot of young people voting."

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