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Jeff Houghton and Sarah Jenkins of “The Mystery Hour” narrate a video for Springfield Votes.
Photo captured from video by League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri
Jeff Houghton and Sarah Jenkins of “The Mystery Hour” narrate a video for Springfield Votes.

Groups compete to turn out young voters

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With the November midterm election less than a month away, the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri has initiated a competition among Springfield leagues in Illinois, Massachusetts and Oregon.

The four leagues are launching a Springfield Votes campaign to educate young people about the importance of voting, according to a news release. The goal is to increase voter turnout among people age 18 to 34.

In the midterm election two years ago, 59 percent of voters age 65-plus cast ballots, but only 23 percent of 18-to 34-year-old voters did, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We’ve been asking young voters, ‘Do you really want older age voters making important decisions about policies and programs that will affect your future more than theirs?’” said Lisa Langley of the Southwest Missouri League, in the release.

The league produced a video in partnership with “The Mystery Hour’s” Jeff Houghton and Sarah Jenkins to promote Springfield Votes, said league spokeswoman Ann Elwell.

The video highlights the right, and wrong, reasons to vote.

“Because your vote can make a difference in issues big and small on the national and local level,” Jenkins said in the video.

Houghton then quipped, “Because we should honor our city’s forefathers who protested no taxation without representation by throwing Pineapple Whip into the Jordan Creek.”

According to the Pew Research Center, tens of millions of registered voters of all ages did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election.

The study found 15 percent believed their vote wouldn’t make a difference, and some said they were too busy or out of town on Election Day.

“Citizens who take the time to vote are the guiding hands for issues that include health care, education, infrastructure, taxes and other public policies that impact all of us,” Southwest Missouri League President Lorraine Sandstrom said in the release.

The League of Women Voters has a history of educating voters.

Recently the League of Southwest Missouri launched the 2018 Vote411.org, a digital voter’s guide, along with a printed version, available for free at libraries in Greene, Christian and Webster counties and many other locations. Elwell said this is the fourth year the group has participated in the online guide.

The Springfield league that increases voter turnout in this age group by the greatest percentage from the 2014 midterm election will be named the Springfield Votes champion.

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