SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Young voters have a history of coming out to the polls in scarce numbers, but colleges across the nation, including one in Spearfish, is trying to change that narrative.
Washington Monthly recently ranked Black Hills State University as one of the best colleges for student voting.
BHSU participated in the publication's "ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge," making posters, posting on social media, and educating students about registering to vote and how to get to the polls on election day.
Katrina Lim says, "Black Hills State University is the only university in South Dakota on America's Best Colleges for Student Voting List, but what convinced these young voters to leave campus and come to the polls?"
Adam Else, BHSU junior and student senator, says, "I think the result of the 2016 election was what really kind of inspired me to get out and be an advocate for women, various groups that are just represented in the minority. That's kind of gotten me out there."
Hannah Neumiller, BHSU sophomore and student senator, says, "I think there's a lot of different issues that I personally vote for whether that be healthcare, education, especially higher education here in South Dakota, the climate, the environment, agriculture, really any reason and every reason is a reason to vote."
A report from the Census Bureau says only 16 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds voted in the 2014 midterms.
Hannah Neumiller says, "They feel like their vote doesn't count. They aren't registered to vote. Most states don't have automatic voter registration. They have to take that initiative to do that. When you're young, they think it doesn't really matter, but it does matter. You're voting for your future."
But college junior Adam Else hopes that number changes for future elections.
Adam Else says, "My hope for young voters is that we have 100 percent turnout. A true democracy isn't represented unless 100 percent of people come and show up and cast their vote. That's the only way we're ever going to get anything done and see what the country actually needs."
BHSU also provided a service called "Party to the Polls" on election day, which involved free candy and bus rides for students who needed a lift to their polling location.