Many young people are casting their first-ever ballots this November in what's shaping up to potentially be one of the highest-turnout elections in recent memory.
Peoria native Brandi Rose Abel is a freshman at Illinois State University who said she's long looked forward to the day she can participate in an election. For her, voting her conscience and standing up for her values through her votes come before other considerations.
"I feel like everyone that can vote, should vote," Abel said. "Especially on things that are really important. Things that you believe really strongly. You should vote according to those, regardless of whether you think they are going to win or not."
Stephanie Kellum is an ISU sophmore who also hails from Peoria. She said that while voting is highly important at any age, young first-time voters have a lot of power to effect change in this election.
"It's very important for young voters to vote because this will affect their future," Kellum said. "It's also the only way we can stand up to the older voters."
A recent look at electorate demographics by Pew Research shows while the median voter continues to grow steadily older, more young people also are eligible to vote this year. That's especially true for Generation Z, or people born after 1996. Those young people now make comprise one in 10 eligible voters.
Authorities report shattered early and mail-in voting records across the country in the lead-up to Election Day as many voters opt for different methods to cast ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic. New mitigations announced by Gov. JB Pritzker on Sunday do not apply to polling places on Tuesday.
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