A Civic Media radio station

Civic Media Logo
Long-term strategies unfold to energize young rural voters

Long-term strategies unfold to energize young rural voters

One of the main issues young voters from rural areas want addressed is a lack of resources in their hometown school districts.

June 7, 2024 12:59 PM CDT

By: Mike Moen / Public News Service

WISCONSIN (Public News Service) – As the 2024 election inches closer, candidates and civic engagement organizers are likely to try and connect with younger voters but for college-age individuals from smaller towns, connections are few and far between.

The Rural Democracy Initiative said 63% of rural youth are infrequent or uncommitted voters and they are among the least contacted by both nonpartisan and political operations.

The organization is behind a new effort to strengthen civic engagement for this demographic. Wisconsin-based groups are doing similar work.

Political parties and voting outreach groups are closely watching to see if younger voters will be fully engaged when the fall election rolls around. Some organizers say this demographic is energized, but young adults from rural areas feel overlooked by outreach efforts. That’s prompting a sharpened focus in states such as Wisconsin.

Emma Frederick, northwest college organizer for Leaders Igniting Transformation, said rural college students from the western half of the state often feel overlooked.

“They note that this is the first time that anyone’s talked to them about voting,” Frederick explained. “While their parents might want to help or their parents don’t know themselves, this is a new experience for them.”

She pointed out one of the main issues young voters from rural areas want addressed is a lack of resources in their hometown school districts. They want to see future generations benefit from having more aid to cover things such as Advanced Placement courses. Nationally, the initiative said such voters also prioritize health care, economic well-being, reproductive rights and climate issues.

Crystal Egbo, northeast college organizer for the group, gets similar feedback on the lack of prior engagement with these students. She emphasized smaller communities are becoming more diverse and there are calls for cultural needs to be considered.

“They’re also asking for having more diverse representation on their (college’s) faculty and staff, having more diverse representation within local government and within community decision-makers,” Egbo added.

According to the initiative, 24% of rural residents are people of color and many are immigrants. It also contended young rural voters of color, who lean toward pro-democracy policies, are significantly underrepresented in elections.

More Articles

  • New Security Plans for Republican National Convention are Subject of ACLU Lawsuit

    6/21/2024 | Ella Saph

    MILWAUKEE (Civic Media) – The United States Secret Service has announced increased security measures prior to the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Milwaukee July 15-18. The new precautions are expected to pose challenges for vehicles, pedestrians, and public transit in downtown Milwaukee, and according to the ACLU, are in violation of First Amendment rights. […]

  • Could the Mississippi River benefit from Chesapeake Bay’s strategy to improve water quality?

    6/21/2024 | Bennet Goldstein / Wisconsin Watch

    In the Mississippi River basin, an estimated 60% to 80% of the nitrogen entering the gulf originates at farms and livestock operations.

  • Eau Claire Sustainability Committee Approves Ordinance Proposal

    6/21/2024 | James Kelly

    The Eau Claire Sustainability Advisory Committee has approved some of the new ordinance proposals introduced earlier this week.

  • SSM Health Baraboo Receives Energy Star

    6/21/2024 | Jo Ann Krulatz

    SSM Health St. Clare Hospital – Baraboo has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® certification for superior energy efficiency for 2024. This recognition represents the diligent work of the plant operations team to save money and reduce operating costs by implementing and following industry best practices and careful attention to energy performance […]

  • Jacque & Wied attend 8th Congressional District candidate’s forum

    6/21/2024 | Lisa M. Hale

    Republican candidates for the 8th Congressional District participated in a candidate’s forum in Greenleaf last night. The forum featured Republican candidates Wisconsin State Senator Andre’ Jacque and former convenience store owner Tony Wied. Former State Senator Roger Roth was not in attendance.

WAUK - Waukesha - The 'SHA