Rock the Vote trying to inspire young voters

Credit: Jon Moore

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the runoff mayoral election around the corner, statistics show young voters aren’t coming out to vote in this election.

Now, a local organization is trying to fix that.

Stats from the city’s election department show only 14.4 percent of people 30-44 years old voted in the first round of this election, and only 9 percent of people 18-29 voted, compared with 48.7 percent of people 55-64 voting.

An organization called Rock The Vote wants to raise awareness among young people as the runoff nears its end.

They said voting is one of the most important things you can do in the community.

The organization just wants the younger generation heard in this election.

“I mean, frankly, we’re the future,” said Carrie Simison. “We want to be the next business leaders. We want to be the next arts leaders. We want to be the next nonprofit leaders. We want to be the next people in government helping to run the city.”

Simison works for the Colorado Springs Independent and helped start Rock The Vote.

“If you don’t get started young and you don’t feel as important now, your habits aren’t going to change when you get older,” said Simison.

An 18-year-old, just able to vote, said a lot of his generation simply doesn’t care about voting.

“That’s not what we’re thinking about. Around our age we’re kinda thinking about high school and what we want to do and kinda partying,” said Justin Aguirre.

He said that could change.

“If a bunch of the people come to high schools and showing how important it is, then it could really open our eyes and show us how important it is,” said Aguirre.

Mayoral candidate John Suthers said more voters is always a good thing.

“From our perspective, we’d love to see everybody vote. Our polling shows that among 18 to 34 year olds, we have a very comfortable margin,” said Suthers.

“It’s critical that the young people in our community realize that they can have a positive impact on our future, but to do so they must vote,” mayoral candidate Mary Lou Makepeace said.

Simison said this is one of the most important elections for our city.

“If you don’t get involved, and if you don’t care, and you don’t have time to invest in the future of your community, the community just gets run by interests that have the money or have the time or care,” said Simison.

On May 14, Rock The Vote is hosting a party of sorts. They’ll be at the ballot box at Centennial Hall starting at 3:30. After you drop off your ballot, you’re invited to join them at Nosh from 4-8 p.m. for live music, food, and drinks.

All runoff ballots have to be turned in by May 19 at 7 p.m.

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