WPU Professor Says NJ Party System Has Abandoned Young Voters

Following the low voter turnout for the 2013 general election, Political Science Professor at William Paterson University Christine Kelly told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that it is the fault of those running for office that voter turnout from the younger generations was low.

“We are really failing a whole generation of up and coming voters,” Kelly said.

Only 35 percent of registered voters actually participated in the election and Kelly said officials are forgetting to look at those who are not registered and what the two parties can do to communicate to voters.

Kelly said that in New Jersey, the two parties have not come into the 21st century. She said the national parties are competing to identify the voters they need, and those are the young voters.

About 636,000 young voters voted in the last presidential election, but the turnout for the governor’s race was incredibly low. “You can’t say that it is the young people’s fault. You have to look at the ‘grown-ups’ and say, ‘Why aren’t you campaigning to the young people?'” Kelly said.

She said that the younger generations have many issues to worry about and do not have much leisure time because they work very hard. Kelly said that they are the most indebted generation in American history because of student loans and the limited number of jobs.

“They are facing real issues and they don’t care if you know BeyoncĂ©. They want to know if you are going to fix their lives,” Kelly said.

Kelly said that if the campaigners talk about the issues that effect young people’s lives — even using social media — they will come out and vote.

“So the parties have abandoned the young voters and I would like to get the citizens of New Jersey to ask why,” Kelly said.