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Census study: More young voters sat out 2012, but Ohio did better
Trend had been upward for 2004 and 2008

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M.L. Schultze
Young people started to turn out in greater numbers in 2004 and 2008, but reversed that in 2012.
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In every presidential election since 1964, young people have voted at a lesser rate than any other group of voters. And an uptick in young voting in 2004 and 2008 headed back down in 2012. But, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, a new study from the Census Bureau says young voters in Ohio were a bit of an exception.

LISTEN: Ohio's young voters

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Thom File is a sociologist at the U.S. Census Bureau with a deep interest in voting patterns. And he’s been working on a series of snapshots on presidential-election turnout.

His latest report shows, nationally, just 45 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters showed up in the 2012 election. And the younger the voter, the less likely to vote. Break that down to 18-24 year olds? Just 38 percent voted -- down from 44 percent in 2008. And he says the intriguing thing is reverses a slight upward trend that started the election before that – 2004.

Here's a link to the complete Census report on young voters. 

File says the under-representation of the youngest voters happened in every state without exception. Still, “there were states, and Ohio was among them, where young people voted at relatively high rates compared to young people nationally. So, at the very least it suggests the magnitude of low voting among young adults can vary depending on where you live. And again, Ohio was a state where young people were more engaged.”

That engagement translated into just over half the Ohio voters age 18-29 casting ballots. Still, that contrasts with two thirds of the rest of the Ohio.

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