Millennials changing voter patterns | NevadaAppeal.com

Millennials changing voter patterns

Ronni Hannaman

Multi-ethnic group of people stand in line to cast their ballot in the November USA elections at a local polling station. Hispanic woman foreground. Other voters in line background. Ballot box.

The Independent Party is growing, much to the chagrin of the established parties that have so dominated the election process for centuries. If you weren't a Republican or Democrat, you were inconsequential, but that is changing as both established parties continue to disappoint voters — especially those under 34, soon to be the biggest voting bloc in the nation.

For those who scoff at those not choosing to vote a straight Republican or Democratic ticket, an Independent is described as one who votes for candidates on issues rather than political ideology or partisanship, though they may lean one way or another. Millennials are not true blue anythings.

Voter statistics culled by age group show the 18-34 group in Nevada (Millennials) are growing and will be a force with which to reckon. As of December 2017, this group numbers 382,312 active voters — yes, active voters — according to the stats provided by the Nevada Secretary of State.

The Nevada breakdown of the parties show 147,549 Democrat Millennial voters; 88,540 Republicans and a whopping 115,557 Independent. Since this is still an impressionable group of voters, this is fertile ground for traditional candidates hoping to change voter attitudes in this age group.

The Nevada breakdown of the parties show 147,549 Democrat Millennial voters; 88,540 Republicans and a whopping 115,557 Independent. Since this is still an impressionable group of voters, this is fertile ground for traditional candidates hoping to change voter attitudes in this age group.

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The impact of the once very dominant over-65 voter is waning. There are 356,132 statewide over-65 voters with 141,064 registered Democrat, 149,020 Republican, and 48,483 Independents. The spread between these two groups is 26,180 in favor of the Millennials and will continue to grow.

In both groups, those who vote Libertarian hardly register a blip, but the Independent American Party — founded in May of 1998 — seems to be favored by the over 65 who want to profess a party affiliation other than Independent. Started in Utah, the Independent American Party is a constitutionally based political party in the United States. In Nevada, 14,701 are over 65 with 6,363 in the Millennial age group.

The national Gallup poll taken during the 2016 presidential election show the Independents gaining considerable foothold with 42 percent registered as Independent, 29 percent Democrat and 26 percent Republican. Seems many Americans have tired of the political football shenanigans and "want to vote their way."

Though this is not a presidential election year, local elections are every bit as important. The good news is you will receive half the negative ads one must endure during presidential election years. However, the social media outlets will be as important as they were in the last presidential election, for Millennials love their various social media outlets.

The unwelcome news is that not as many voters may turn out, though Carson City does have a better average than most for voter turnout during the off years. In 2016, the primary brought out 36.18 percent Carsonites. Only Eureka, with a population of 862, beat us out for the top award with 52.42 percent voting. For the general, Carsonites turned out in droves registering 91.87 percent. Only Douglas County was higher at 94.45 percent. In the general statewide, 76.83 percent voted.

Locally, whom you chose for the two open supervisor seats is very important and could mean more taxes — or less taxes — or more development ­— or less development — or better roads — or other upgrades, though it takes three supervisors to be of like-mind to make anything happen. Every vote by a supervisor can encumber or benefit taxpayers for years, and the effect of a vote can be hard to reverse.

For example, the decision made by earlier supervisors to defer maintenance on public facilities has cost taxpayers far more than if needed repairs had been made in a timely fashion. Water rates continue to increase to bring our most important water treatment facility up to par and to meet federal standards.

The city is still playing catchup with other facilities such as the well-used community center and our parks.

It has already been forewarned the repairing of non-essential (neighborhood) roads has been relegated toward the bottom of the list in favor of repaving and repairing the arterials and South Carson Street. Potholes will be repaired if reported, but forget the slurry or crack-repair. Those cracks will get far wider before being addressed. The state of a community's roads indicates the economic conditions of the community.

As a reminder, during the last election Carsonites chose not to encumber themselves with a 5 cent per annum compounded gas tax to repair roads. That same scenario played out in Douglas County and many communities across the United States. The consensus is that voters were just "taxed out." If you need to report potholes or streetlight outages, log on to https://en.seeclickfix.com/NV_carson-city.

Local elections are those that most impact your daily lives and pocketbooks. The statewide elections are important as well. Our Nevada State Senator and Assemblyperson is up for re-election. On the national level, it's time to switch or reelect US House of Representative Mark Amodei (R) and Senator Dean Heller (R). This will be the representative's fourth election (every two years) and the senator's second election (every six years). Both are being targeted by Democrats, but it may well be the Independents who ultimately call the shots.

The Chamber suggests you watch your local supervisors represent you twice monthly on the first and third Thursdays live on your computer by logging on to Carson.org. You can learn a lot from the questions posed, body language, and other nuances. Learn all about the candidates coming forth seeking terms as supervisor. Are their priorities the same as yours?

Some supervisors reach out to constituents to listen to concerns by holding monthly walk-a-bouts, free coffee listening sessions or neighborhood get-togethers. They take this opportunity to explain decisions made by the Board or why an issue may seem more important than another.

And, finally, don't want to be bothered with all that wasteful slick mail or endless robo calls? Do something about it by calling our County Clerk/Recorder's Office — Election's Department at 775-887-2087, stopping by or writing them to request address, email address, social security number, drivers license or ID card number to be withheld from the public. The Carson City Clerk-Recorders Office is located inside the Courthouse at 885. E. Musser St.

Whatever your party affiliation, do your homework now and be an informed voter. Not a registered voter? Go to the courthouse at 885 E. Musser St., first floor, to register. Help create the city, state and nation you want your children to enjoy by getting out and voting.

If there is more than one candidate in each of the open offices, the Chamber will hold a Primary Candidates Forum in May. As of this writing, both supervisor candidates are without a declared opponent.