The New Hampshire primaries is a pivotal part of the election season that, along with the Iowa Caucus, starts the road to the presidential general elections in November.
Every four years during the month of February, presidential candidates of various parties travel to the northeast state to convince voters to support their campaign and help them win their party’s nomination.
And just like the candidates, thousands of people from New Hampshire and elsewhere attend different events throughout the state to show their support. Within these group of people include first-time and young voters.
During the 2016 election, the youth vote was shown to play an important factor for many election results.
According to a collaboration with Brookings’ Governance Studies and the Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), “while many expected the low favorability ratings of the two candidates and the divisiveness of this election year to keep young voters home, 2016 saw similar rates of young adult turnout as 2012.”
Many young voters came out to New Hampshire to vote in the primaries and show their support for various candidates, believing their voice to matter now more than ever.
Issues such as climate change, college tuition, and gun control were various topics brought up throughout the primaries to list a few.
Zack Godick is a 17-year old high school student who will be registering to vote for the first time this year for the November general election. He explained how important it was for young people to be heard by politicians due to problems that will affect the future.
“I think that our vote is really important because we’re the next generation of voters and our problems are going to be tackled,” Godick said.
He then went on to explain that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was most appealing for young voters due to his age and his commitment to various social issues.
Annabelle Bartlett is also a first-time voter who plans on voting for Buttigieg during the 2020 elections.
During Buttigieg’s town hall meeting, he emphasized that both politicians and the public need to change the world rather than waiting for someone else to fix the problems for us, a key point that caught Bartlett’s attention.
“Well, like what Pete said today is that we would always say, why don’t they change it? Why don’t they make policy changes? Why don’t they help when it really should be why don’t we change it,” Bartlett said.
Like Bartlett, many other youth voters are tired of waiting for a change. Rather than depending solely on politicians, there has been emphasis on bringing attention from the young public as well.
“I think the youth specifically with the environment and what’s happening with our education and everything, we are the ones that are going to be affected and our children,” said Bartlett.
“We need to be making the difference now and not leaving it anymore to who we use to leave it to. You know, this is a new era and it’s time for new voters,” Bartlett continued.
Bartlett intends on dedicating her first vote to Buttigieg in November, believing him to be the most relatable to young voters.
Aside from Buttigieg supporters, young voters attended Elizabeth Warren’s canvassing event at Manchester Community College. They too expressed the importance for youth voters.
Andrea Viveiros, a devoted Warren supporter, expressed that youth voters bring attention to issues that older age groups tend to ignore.
“We are the generation that’s going to inherit the country that’s currently being shaped by whoever the next president’s going to be,” Viveiros said. “We’re the ones that are going to have to live with the consequences of these policies long term, especially when it comes to climate change, racial justice, and economic justice.”
Viveiros explained further that many marginalized communities have spent many decades going through a lack and America for so long has attempted to convey that this is normal.
Young voters have been such an importance in voting that some older adults agree they play a defining part in the future of politics.
Long-time voter and Bernie Sanders supporter Brian Russell, 62, heavily emphasized on the importance of youth voters for the upcoming elections.
“Well, based on what happened in 2016, Trump won and we’re on our way to a dictatorship really fast,” Russell said. And with the Republicans being hypocrites, they are backing the guy who is criminal, that has done criminal things in the office and lied continuously.”
Russell also explained that the state of New Hampshire has attempted to make it difficult for college voters, forcing students to vote in their resident state rather than where they attend college.
“In New Hampshire this last year, they tried to change the laws that students, college students would have to come home in order to vote, said Russell. “They want to make it more difficult for people to vote, young people especially.”
Every major politician from Democratic Socialist Sanders to charismatic moderate Buttigieg has emphasized how important the youth vote will count in the 2020 elections.
Just like in 2016 when Hillary Clinton defeated current President Donald Trump for the state of New Hampshire with a mere 2,736 votes, young votes are now more crucial than ever.