/‘Laziness’ a factor in low millennial voter turnout, top Mississippi election official says

‘Laziness’ a factor in low millennial voter turnout, top Mississippi election official says

Kim Turner, assistant secretary of state, who oversees the election division at the office, spoke out last month at a forum on why turnout among 18-34-year-olds is so low. As a member of a panel organized by the Mississippi Humanities Council, Turner stated that young voters aren’t used to visiting a post office to mail a letter or buy stamps. You don’t even have to leave your home if you don’t want to. You can have food delivered or groceries delivered. Target delivers to you, including Netflix and movies on demand. You don’t even have to leave your home. I have spoken to many other elected officials and they agree with me about the ease of access to so many products and services. Turner didn’t immediately respond to a follow up request for clarification. Leah Rupp Smith spokeswoman for Secretary of State’s Office. She stated that the agency is concerned by a lack interest in elections at all levels. Smith shared the following with Mississippi Today: “We have held public forums throughout the State, led hundreds schools to ‘Promote The Vote’, participated in voter registration drives, engaged our local elections officials, and helped thousands Mississippi men and women fighting overseas cast their votes, among other programs, and initiatives.” “We hope all of these efforts made by officials and other State officials make a difference. At least 50% of eligible voters cast their ballots on November 6, according to census community survey statistics. This makes Mississippi’s millennials and Generation Z, who were born around the turn century, one of the largest voting blocs in the state. This year’s statewide candidates, particularly Democratic Senate candidates Mike Espy, and David Baria have done a lot to win the votes of millennials. According to several national data analysis, the millennials have not voted as much, Turner said during the panel discussion. According to CIRCLE data, only 20 percent of Americans aged 18-29 cast a vote in 2014’s midterm election, compared to 46 percent in 2016. CIRCLE conducted a poll earlier this year and found that 34 percent of those aged 18-24 said they are “extremely likely to vote”. A Harvard poll published in October suggested that the turnout of Generation Z and millennial voters at this week’s midterm elections could be the highest in the past three decades among those aged 18 to 29. Mississippi Votes, a millennial-led non-profit that was founded in 2017, with a focus to register young voters in the state. They registered at least 2000 new voters through grassroots initiatives in seven counties, and nine colleges campuses. Arekia Bennett (executive director of Mississippi Votes), a millennial herself, challenged Turner’s assessment at last month’s event. Bennett stated, “I don’t disagree with you about the apathy. But I believe that young Mississippians are saying, “Yo, not just voting but we’re making educated ballots and we’re going back offices and doing what the rest of the world has said Mississippi will not do.” “We are aware that it is up to us to build a culture of civic engagement.”