Young voters have numbers, but don’t use them

By Stephanie Sharp…

As some might suspect, Escambia County’s registered voters between the ages of 18 and 25 aren’t big participants in the democratic process.

On the whole, Escambia County’s voter turnout has been above the state average, soaring to 80 percent in 2008. However, 18-25 age bracket, which is only surpassed by voters age 66 and above in total registered voters, accounted for just nine percent of the votes cast locally in the 2008 general election and dipped to 3 percent in the 2010 general election.

There is one big exception—Precinct 110, at Pensacola Christian College. In the 2008 general election, the 18-25 voters age cast 1,726 votes; in 2010, 1,063. No other precinct even reached 500 ballots for the same age group in those elections.

“They’re very serious about voting there,” said Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford.

Will the age 18-25 voters influence the 2012 primaries and general elections? Not likely or, at least, not at the level that the age 66 and older voters do. A good example is the 2009 Pensacola City Charter Referendum, the 18-25 year old voter accounted for only 4.2 percent of all votes cast—while the 66 and up group supplied 34.1 percent.

Stafford summed it up nicely, “When you choose not to vote, you’re letting someone else decide for you.”