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Young Kentucky Voters Going to Polls Over Issues that Impact Their Lives

flickr/Theresa Thompson

About half of Kentucky voters between the ages of 18 and 34 went to the polls for the 2016 general election, when the president was chosen. But in the last midterm election in 2014, less than one-third of voters in that age group turned out to vote in Kentucky.  Some younger voters in Kentucky said issues that affect them and their communities are getting them out to the polls.

At a campaign rally for 8th District Senate candidate Democrat Bob Glenn, 21-year-old Hancock County resident Heather Chappell said one issue that’s important to her is health care. She’s a student at Owensboro Community and Technical College and is a Certified Nursing Assistant working with oncology patients at Owensboro Hospital.

 “With a lot of my oncology patients, they are struggling with how to pay for it with Medicare and Medicaid and not getting the proper treatment that they need, said Chapell. "And that’s leading to potentially death of them. So I do worry that it’s not going get taken care of. I believe it could be a simple fix if everybody would just get on board with wanting better for people and wanting people to feel better.”

At a candidate forum at Western Kentucky University, 20-year-old Matthew Howerton, who’s from Madisonville, said he’s a registered Republican.  Howerton is majoring in psychology with a minor in political science and wants to work with at-risk middle school students.

 “What issues are you concerned about in this upcoming midterm election?”

“A lot of issues would be around mental health, just because I have a background in psychology, so mental health would be a big one for me. Gun rights.”

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, voters who are Millennials and GenXers, that’s ages 22-to-53, turn out less for midterms elections compared with older generations when they were the same age. It remains to be seen how voters in the generational groups impact—or don’t impact—the results of Kentucky’s election on Nov. 6.

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