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Low voter turnout among young voters in tri-county area

Nov 25, 2015

  Final numbers from the this fall’s election are in, and voter turnout among young people remains low. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

Supporters of the failed Base 2 lodge project in downtown Aspen relied heavily on get out the vote efforts for people between 18 and 35. They believed young people would be like minded and check the yes box. But the ballot measure went down in flames.

The numbers give a glimpse as to why. In Pitkin County, 8 percent of the total vote was from the 18 to 30 year old demographic. Campaigners used beer, pizza and even had a bus that drove young people to polling places to register to vote. In the two days before the election count, 34 people registered. Janice Vos Caudill is the clerk and recorder.

“You can see that there’s an increase in voter registration within that age group in October in comparison to September and certainly in November,” she says.

Low voter turnout among young people was seen in Eagle and Garfield counties as well. People under 29 in Eagle accounted for about 5 percent of the vote; in Garfield it was less than 1 percent.

The voter age breakdown in all three counties is reflective of who lives here — the majority of people who voted are between 50 and 70.

Statewide, voter turnout was down significantly from 2013, which was the last “off year election.”

Carolyn Sackariason, Aspen Public Radio News