LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There were a lot of young eyes on the debate.
For this election, one in 10 eligible voters are members of Generation Z, born after 9/11. Combined with millennials, they make up 37 percent of voters this year, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Many first-time voters tuned in to the debate Wednesday night.
Eyewitness News spoke with college students to find out what they wanted to hear.
A recent Harvard youth poll found significant interest in the upcoming election among 18 to 29-year-olds. 63 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 say they will “definitely be voting” in the November election, compared to 47 percent during this same time before the 2016 presidential election.
“I’m glad to be able to be a part of making a change in the country and being able to vote,” 19-year-old Kevin Brown said.
Brown says it’s likely related to the pandemic and the current climate in the country.
“It’s a tough time in the country and you’ve got to have the right person in office,” Brown said.
It’s a responsibility young voters like Caitlyn Bly don’t take lightly.
“I follow politics closely and to finally have a say in who’s going to run the country means a lot,” Bly said.
Being a first-time voter also means doing your research.
“If they don’t have the right information and they don’t know what the candidates’ proposals are, then they can’t make the best educated vote,” Bly said.
Many tuned in to the debate hoping for some clarity.
The last debate was kind of just bickering, with Biden calling Trump a clown and stuff. So I hope to get more clarity of both sides hearing what they have to say,” Emily Ashton said.
“I want to hear the right answers, or honest answers, rather than just trying to evade stuff,” Hunter Bowman said.
Many young voters said they were anxious to hear about plans for coronavirus.
Maybe less strict guidelines. I’m a college kid so I want it to be as normal as possible for my last two years,” Gabriel Nieves said.
Their thoughts about the COVID relief or how we should move forward after all this economic impact.” Junior Alvarado said.
Another reason for tuning in? They’re witnessing a milestone.
It’s the first vice presidential debate to feature a woman of color.
“It’s definitely a milestone for the African-American community and I think a lot of us are tuning in tonight to show support,” Brown said.
This year, we could see young voters turning out at the polls in record numbers. And they won’t be voting blindly.
“Do your research, and vote for the person you believe in,” Alvarado said.
The projected turnout among young voters comes as social networks and other companies push voter registration efforts and voting information resources.