Kim Johnson ReportingFree elections and the right to vote are hallmarks of a democratic society. But there is a segment of the American population that doesn't think much of exercising this privilege. Young, unmarried women make up the largest demographic of non-voters in the country.
A 2002 report from the Pew Charitable Trust for people and Press says only 22 percent of women aged 20 to 25 vote regularly. Why? Gena Edvalson led a discussion on this question at the University of Utah's Women's resource center.
Edvalson says young, unmarried women often don't relate to the issues they hear and read about in the media.
Gena Edvalson, Utah Progressive Network Fund: “Because they don’t see issues they really care about addressed, they don’t feel engaged in the process and so they aren’t voting.”
Jana Baldwin Francis, Vote Project: “It’s really nauseating.”
Jana Francis works with Vote Project at the University of Utah. She's trying to get students registered to vote and out to the polls in November.
Jana Francis: “Women had the right to vote eight years ago, so there’s no excuse.”
Edvalson says while getting young women to the ballot box is a critical first step, she hopes they'll get more involved.
Gena Edvalson: “It’s about making this a process that spans beyond election years, something they’re always engaged in. They see politics as something that affects them.”
Edvalson says if young women will band together and make their voices heard, they have the potential of being a formidable force in the political landscape.