Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman was recently quoted in an article in the Messenger Post about the 40th anniversary of the voting age being reduced from 21 to 18. The article included statistics about voting habits of those 18 to 21, noting not all registered voters in that age group take the opportunity to vote.
It notes Deutchman “said part of the problem is that – unlike other countries – the U.S. doesn’t designate election days as holidays, making time an issue for all ages.”
“The big thing isn’t age. It’s making it so people can’t vote. … Don’t make it so difficult,” Deutchman said.
The article said, “Whatever the reason for not participating in an election, Deutchman said she feels it’s important to celebrate the right to vote by doing just that: casting a ballot.”
“Everybody should vote,” she said. “The U.S. has a pretty low percentage of voters, regardless of age.'”
Deutchman, a member of the HWS faculty since 1987, holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in political science and economics.
The full article follows.
Amendment anniversary serves as reminder
Scott Pukos • Staff Writer • July 25, 2011
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the voting age in the United States being changed from 21 to 18 years of age. Locally, some say this focus on the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is an important reminder of the importance of the youth vote.
“I think getting younger people in the area to vote is important,” said Aaron Wiseman, 21, of Canandaigua. “If they start voting now, they can take charge of items that are put on the table – like education or taxes.”
“Young adults have been a driving force for change in the last century,” said President Barack Obama in a proclamation earlier this month.
According to statistics from the Ontario County Board of Elections, 20 percent of registered voters 18 to 21 years old voted in 2010. In comparison, 72 percent of registered county residents 60 years and older voted.
In 2009, only 4 percent of re-registered voters in the county 18 to 21 exercised their right to vote. The hike in 2010 isn’t necessarily from any drastic change in attitude among younger voters, but just a reflection of where their interests are deeper, said Ontario County Republican Commissioner Michael Northrup.
“They don’t really seem to take a lot of interest in local politics,” said Northrup about the difference in numbers.
“They have more of an interest in state politics.”
He said the reason could be attributed to more exposure – via television, new coverage, etc. – for elections for state offices.
Wiseman said he felt the problem with the lack of voting among younger people isn’t just due to the type of election.
“(Younger voters) don’t vote as much as they should,” he said. “It could be non-interest, or they’re just too busy doing other things.”
The reasons for not voting don’t always stem from apathy, however.
“I feel whatever president we pick will be a bad candidate,” said Catherine Brown, 20, of Clifton Springs. “It is important, but my personal preference is to not vote.”
Iva Deutchman, a political science professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, said part of the problem is that – unlike other countries – the U.S. doesn’t designate election days as holidays, making time an issue for all ages.
“The big thing isn’t age,” said Deutchman. “It’s making it so people can’t vote. … Don’t make it so difficult.”
Whatever the reason for not participating in an election, Deutchman said she feels it’s important to celebrate the right to vote by doing just that: casting a ballot.
“Everybody should vote,” she said. “The U.S. has a pretty low percentage of voters, regardless of age.”
Copyright 2011 MPNnow. Some rights reserved