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Peter W. Wielhouwer, associate professor of political science

By James Weir

Millennials will have little impact in the polls this presidential election, according to Western Michigan University political science professors and students.

Peter Wielhouwer, director of the WMU Institute of Government and Politics, said youth voters are discouraged. He said Millennials feel the system was rigged against Bernie Sanders and his defeat made voters angry toward the other candidates.

“Young voters’ frustration relates to inexperience in politics,” Wielhouwer said. “The election process and rules have been in place for over 30 years and experienced leaders like Clinton know how the system works.”

Wielhouwer said the expectations of politics in America for Millennials is unrealistic. He said ideas like free college education are unreasonable. Wielhouwer said the voter turnout for Millennials should be average. Generation X (1960s-1970s) and the Baby Boomers (1940s-1960s) will have more of an impact in the polls due to age and experience.

“Millennials feel Bernie Sanders got cheated,” Wielhouwer said. “They’re not excited about the election anymore.”

Kevin Corder, a WMU political science professor, said it’s hard to get millennials to the polls. Within the last two elections, the numbers have decreased among youth voters. He said older people turn out more at the polls. He said there will most likely be the same youth turnout as the 2012 election, which was half of the Baby Boomers voting bloc.

“Older generations have their set party all ready,” Corder said. “Their party identification.”

Corder said since the younger generation doesn’t have a lot of experience in politics. So youth voters prefer candidates with specific policies that relate to them.

Corder said the voter registration process could affect voting turnouts for Millennials in Michigan. He said 15 states have same-day voter registration. The state of Michigan doesn’t have same-day registration.

The turnout rate among 18-to 24-year olds decreased to 41.2 percent in 2012 from 48.5 percent in 2008, according to the Census Bureau report.

Therefore, some Millennials are considering not voting at all.

Kyler Bates, a WMU senior studying social work, said the younger generation won’t vote this election. Bates said, unfortunately, it’s a hassle to register and college students don’t care enough to register.

“That’s just how I feel about this election, I’m not into politics and I don’t agree with either candidate at this point,” Bates said.

Therefore, Cameron Stella, a WMU freshman studying sales and marketing, said students are less involved in politics this election. Stella said youth voters will vote based on their parent’s perspectives if anything. It doesn’t matter if they like Clinton or Trump, they’re probably not going to vote in general. He said maybe if the registration process was easier in Michigan, the youth generation would care more and place more of an influence in the polls.

Although, Rachel Miller, a WMU junior studying communication and criminal justice, said Millennials are an important factor in this election, but the candidates are bad. Miller said some of younger generation will still vote and get their voice out there. They can still make a difference by actually voting.

However, Will Smeda, a WMU freshman studying psychology, said millennials will vote for whoever they like a little bit more.

“Both candidates have their individual problems,” Smeda said.

Smeda said youth voters won’t take the time to register to vote for candidates they don’t even like.

The last election showed that Obama took 67 percent of the youth vote ages 18-29, while Mitt Romney got only 30 percent, according to the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

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