Manatee County Election Supervisor encourages young voters to get involved

Voter dropping off ballot
Voter dropping off ballot(Jace Harper)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:04 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Manatee County Election Supervisor Michael Bennett said they sent out 107,000 vote-by-mail ballots, and as of this morning had a little over 45,000 returned. He explained there’s a lower expectation for voters in the primary election although he doesn’t understand why?

“People don’t get excited about the primary. Although they should because it will affect their daily life,” he said. “The County Commissioner, City Commissioner, and the school board. Those are the things that affect their daily life and you would think they would spend more time looking at those.”

One group of voters who are the most scares at polling locations are the younger voters. People like Shelby Nagle, a student at New College of Florida, is trying to change that.

“I find election day incredibly important. I’ve been asking around seeing who else is voting trying to get the hype up because even local elections and stuff are incredibly important,” she said.

Nagle explained her passion for voting stems from an event in 2018 which impacted her, and the nation, forever. The Parkland school shooting.

“I come from Parkland. So, election time is very important over there,” she continues. “Gun control is a very big issue for me. Obviously not banning it, for me, is my stance. I understand that you should be able to protect yourself and you should be able to have the freedom to have arms. But, I would appreciate some more regulation. So, that’s a big thing for me.”

Being surrounded by others at what she calls a “Liberal Arts College”, she said many students there have lots of opinions. But, she was shocked to find out a large portion of them don’t make it to the polls.

“Everybody has opinions that are so far left, and so far right. Regardless of left or right you have to turn that into action,” she continues. “Here we are, we have a lot to say about political concepts and stuff, and a lot of people are taking stances. But, then when it’s time to actually show up- you’re seeing a lack in our demographic.”

She’s right. According to Bennett, there’s a huge disparity in numbers between young voters and senior voters.

“We’re not getting as many of the younger voters as we thought we might. When you look at some of these precincts that we have an elevated age, those people tend to take it serious and they do participate,” he said. “They recognize how important it is to their community, their country, and their state.”