Indiana teens get involved in campaigns, head to the polls

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On this primary day, some first time voters are hitting the polls. College and high school students are not only casting their ballots but also volunteering with campaigns.

College student Isaiah Mears started off his Tuesday by voting.

“I think it’s something great that as an American I’m able to do to cast my vote to, have a voice in Indiana politics,” Mears said. “And especially in a race like this.”

Mears has been interning for Republican Luke Messer’s senate campaign since last summer. He believes many more people his age will be exercising their civic duty this year.

“I think [the turnout] will be tremendous,” Mears said. “I just look at our campaign. We’ve got hundreds of college students from all over the state coming together.”

Meantime on the east side, first time voter and Warren Central senior Chasity Shanklin is spending her day volunteering as a democrat.

“We’re the future, ” Shanklin said. “Every vote counts so I’m excited.”

Shanklin even brought along her friend, who is still 17, but eager to get involved.

“Just to get an experience of it for when I turn 18,” said Sandra Tello, a Warren Central junior.

In a year where students across the country have organized and marched, some analysts say young people have the potential to swing the election.

But there are opposing views on whether this age group will actually turnout for the primary.

“There’s nothing I’ve seen so far in 2018 that would inspire any young voter to vote,” said Mike Murphy, former GOP state lawmaker. “I hate to say that – I have two young sons – there’s just been nothing aspirational about it.”

“I think, especially for a first-time voter in a congressional off year election, this is a really exciting one,” said Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis political science professor. “They’re going to be judging it as a mandate and referendum on the president and they’re going to see it as a tie-in with the party. We talk about the coat-tail effect – I think it can be positive or negative.”


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