Secretaries of state reach out to young voters at WSUV

first_imgPoliticians across the nation are targeting what is expected to be the largest generation of voters in the country: millennials.On Monday, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, and Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat, joined forces at Washington State University Vancouver to continue the trend. Several local candidates were also in attendance. “If you don’t engage and you don’t cast a ballot in elections, you let all of us pick for you, every time,” Wyman told students. “You let your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles pick for you. … Old people vote at a really high rate.” An estimated 30 million millennials, who are between the ages of 18 and 34, didn’t vote in the U.S. in 2012, according to Rock the Vote, a nonprofit aimed at engaging young voters.In the primary election, Wyman told the students, only 31 percent of voters bothered to cast their ballot. And that was the second-best voter turnout in the U.S.The state with the best voter turnout in that election?“Oregon,” Wyman said, looking at Brown. “Not that we’re competitive. But we’re going to beat them in the general.” Washington is expecting a 62 percent voter turnout in the Nov. 4 general election.Wyman and Brown later faced off in a trivia contest. There were a few softball questions, including: How many secretaries of state has Washington had? Wyman nailed that: She’s the state’s 15th.Another question: Which Washington ballot measure would extend background checks for gun sales?“What is Initiative 594?” Wyman said. Sarah Dorsch, a 25-year-old WSUV junior studying anthropology, said the event helped put a few faces to names she’s seen before. Editorial board meetingAfter the trivia showdown, Wyman spoke with The Columbian’s editorial board on a wide range of topics. The secretary of state expects the home-rule charter and county commissioner race to boost voter turnout in Clark County. She said county charters can be “empowering for the citizens,” but added they also can bring unintended consequences. Wyman also pointed out the 4th Congressional District race, in which two Republicans are vying for the same congressional seat for the first time in the state’s history. She said that’s proof the top-two primary system is working the way it was intended.last_img read more