Published June 14th, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Candidates in the upcoming election converged on Barney Allis Plaza for the Raucous Caucus, an event aimed at getting young people to vote. The event was hosted by a collection of local organizations that work to engage young people in Kansas City, including KCPT.
In May of 2015 the Kansas City Star reported that three times more people over the age of 80 voted than under the age of 30; in the 2014 election, more people over 90 than under 30.
Guillermo, a millennial attendee, said a major factor that could increase young voter turnout would be allowing them to vote online.
“If online voting could happen, man, millennials would vote in just mass numbers, but I know that’s not going to happen,” says Guillermo.
The ability to vote online was a suggestion put forward by numerous millennials at the event despite fears of fraud and security. But Terrence Nash, a candidate for 6th district, says voting at home would further disengage voters.
“You don’t want that. You’ve got to have interaction. Voting isn’t supposed to be at home. It’s a community event,” says Nash.
Catherine, another young voter, believes that residential stability is the defining factor in lower millennial turnout. She says it’s difficult to get engaged in your district’s issues when you’re constantly moving around the city.
“They’re not as invested in the community. Someone who’s 90 years old has lived in Kansas City their whole life, but if you’re only 24, chances are you’ve only lived here a couple years. So, you don’t have the same investment,” says Catherine.
Chance just moved to Kansas City after getting out of the military. He thinks young voters are disengaged because they feel like their vote doesn’t matter.
“We’ve been shown pretty regularly that no matter how much we want to change the world, the old moneyed interests are going to overpower anything we say just by screaming louder than we possibly can,” says Chance.
Regardless, Chance still hopes to see more millennials getting involved in the elections.
“If you don’t do something about it, nothing’s ever going to change for the better. Whether it makes a difference or not, the act of trying to make a difference is important,” says Chance.
The event drew many candidates running for election including Dennis Anthony, Jim Glover, Quinton Lucas, and Kathryn Shields.
Whether the event has an effect on young voter turn out will be seen at the polls on June 23rd.