There are only 33 more days until Election Day 2016. However, voters in Iowa are able to fill out their ballots right now.
Early voting began last Thursday. Absentee ballots are available by request. Voters registered in Iowa can stop by the auditor’s office at 120 2nd Ave to register and vote.
On the first day of early voting, NextGen Climate held an event to encourage young voters to not only vote early but to also vote with the environment in mind.
Two Drake students, sophomore Josh Hughes and junior Jordan Sabine, spoke at the event.
“It is a really great organization,” Sabine said. “I think environment is such an essential issue that millennials feel really strongly about compared to other generations. We’re going to be here for a really long time. And our parents and grandparents won’t be here for as long. But we really understand… that we need to make sure that it’s a sustainable planet.”
Sabine is currently managing Nate Boulton’s Iowa Senate campaign and previously worked on Martin O’Malley’s caucus campaign. In her mind, millennials could change the course of this election. Yet that impact can only be felt if the youngest voters actually cast a ballot.
“We can make a huge difference in this election if we actually vote, which is going to be the kicker,” Sabine said, “because young people don’t often vote, unfortunately.”
18 to 29-year-olds have had the lowest turn-out in most elections. In 2012, 45 percent of this age range took to the polling locations while 72 percent of 65-year-olds and older voted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is why NextGen focuses on young voters.
“NextGen is involved with that, activating young people to get out and vote for people that are going to be supporting renewable energy solutions,” Hughes said.
Millenials outnumber baby boomers for the first time this election cycle, as reported by the U.S. Census bureau.
Early voting is an important component to the election cycle. Hughes explained that checking off early voters from registration lists allows campaigns to focus on getting last-minute voters to the polls come Election Day.
According to Hughes, everyone should be engaged in politics.
“It should be important to so many young people just because the choices that are made by legislators, by the president, by governors affect our lives in innumerable ways and ways that we don’t even realize,” Hughes said.
Both Hughes and Sabine advised Drake students to register to vote in Iowa.
“I think that’s a really cool way to make a really big impact because Iowa is such a swing state right now,” Sabine said. “Your vote will count so much more here than in Illinois which is going to be democratic or Washington where Hillary Clinton is going to be elected.”
All Drake students are able to register to vote in Iowa because they have an address in the state. Voters in Iowa must be a U.S. citizen and 18 years of age by Election Day.
They will also need to record one of the following on the registration form: Iowa driver’s license number, Iowa non-operator ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.