- Associated Press - Sunday, July 26, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma election board records show a 40 percent decline in the number of 18-to-24-year-olds who are registered to vote, and some in the age group say the reason is the registration process is cumbersome and that candidates fail to connect with them.

The Tulsa World reports (https://bit.ly/1I32iBS ) that the number of 18-24-year-old registered voters in the state fell from about 224,000 in 2005 to about 138,000 in 2015, while overall voter registration rose by 3 percent during the same period.

“I don’t think there have been a lot of candidates that have connected real well with the millennial age group,” Sweet said. “I think a lot of it is just political disillusionment. It feels like the races have all been determined before they start.”

Allison Bell, 19 and also a college student, said she plans to register but hasn’t gotten around to it.

She said she tries to stay up on national politics but said she is not in tune with local issues.

“I’ve never actually talked to any of my friends about politics,” Bell said. “It just never seems to come up apart from people touting their gun rights and whatnot.”

Bell said she believes more of those like her would register if it was easier, such as an online process.

“I feel like if they would do that, if it was all online, more people would do that, especially among people my age,” Bell said.

A new law should address some of those concerns.

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, supported the bill that is now law and allows the Oklahoma Election Board to develop an online voter registration system beginning Nov. 1.

“Online registration is going to be useful to people of all ages and demographics, but there’s no question it’s most useful to young people who expect to be able to accomplish these kinds of tasks online,” Holt said. “So I’m hopeful it will increase registration among young people when all you have to do is tweet out the link.”

Holt said he hopes the new online system will be operational in time for the 2016 presidential election.

Increasing voter registration is the first step in attracting younger voters to politics, Holt said. Increasing the turnout will be next.

“We have created a system that is extremely difficult to participate in unless you have an almost superhuman level of interest in politics, at least outside of the big elections,” Holt said.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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