OHIO — Two issues on Ohio’s November ballot have experts calling for a shift in voter turnout.

What You Need To Know

  • Data from the last two midterm elections showed 18-29-year-olds had the lowest percentage of voter turnout

  • Experts believe issues on reproductive rights and marijuana will drive young voters to the polls

  • Research shows Republicans and Democrats tend to gain more votes from older populations

  • According to Pew Research, Republicans were able to capitalize off of the low voter turnout for young voters in 2018 and 2022 

Mike Collins, Executive Director of Kids Voting Ohio & Support Ohio Schools expects there to be a significant turnout of young voters at the polls on November 7th.

“I think their impact will be felt at a level that we haven't seen in a very long time," Collins said.

That’s because this time around reproductive rights and the recreational use of marijuana are two issues on the ballot, both of which draw great interest from young voters. 

While Collins can’t predict whether the increase in the 18-29 voters will be above 2%, he is confident that the turnout will affect engagement. His hope is that the impact will challenge this particular demographic.

“This is something that I should be responsible for…just like I need to be responsible to pay my taxes and follow traffic laws…it's one of my responsibilities is to be a participatory citizen and vote regularly," he said of what he hopes young voters will think.

Regardless of how things play out concerning young voters and their engagement, Collins believes this momentum for the November election will continue into 2024. That’s in part because the primary is in March and not May, which for Collins means the issues facing voters today will be less likely to be forgotten or put aside.

“I also think 2024 will bring enough other sets of circumstances of concern that it won't necessarily need to be an issue that triggers certain emotions in populations," Collins said. "I think there'll be other things that will trigger…I need to get my voice heard.”

Whether it’s 2023 or 2024 elections, Collins believes that while they may not be able to contribute financially in ways that older populations can, campaigns should have their eyes on young voters. This is because what they’ll contribute at the ballot box could have a lasting impact.