Social media affecting younger voter turn out - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Social media affecting younger voter turn out

Source: KFDA Source: KFDA
"What 2016 would look like if just women voted" Source: FiveThirtyEight "What 2016 would look like if just women voted" Source: FiveThirtyEight
"What 2016 would look like if just men voted" Source: FiveThirtyEight "What 2016 would look like if just men voted" Source: FiveThirtyEight
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Source: CBS Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Source: CBS
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Source: CBS Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Source: CBS

Social media has played a bigger role in this presidential election than any other to date, and its influence may be stopping some people from going out to cast their votes.

Americans today use several social media sites driven by trending topics and viral hash tags, and when these articles revolve around the election, they can often inundate voters with so much information that voting just becomes confusing.

Take for example the latest trending hash tag, which suggests women just should not vote.

The statistical website FiveThrityEight released two polls showing who would win the election if only women voted, and if only men voted.

Their results show if only women voted, Hillary Clinton would win the presidency.

And if only men voted, Donald Trump would take the Oval Office.

This information led to Trump supporters creating #RepealThe19th, implying the amendment that allows women to vote should be eradicated so Trump could win the election with all male votes.

"It's not about whether the amendment [gets repealed], even if it could be repealed, but the fact that it can get that much attention," said Jill Gibson, Coordinator of the Mass Media Program at Amarillo College. "One of the things we see with social media is you can get a lot of attention fast but it doesn't necessarily maintain."

Even as these ideas spark up and burn out quickly, the new trends are constant.

It's ideas like this that are confusing the newest generation of voters, who get the majority of their information on the candidates from social media.

"There's so much talk about the election and talk about politics, but a lot of the younger people who are eligible to vote for the first time are so disillusioned they're not even going to vote," said Gibson. "And that's sad."

One of those people is AC mass media student Stetson Smith, who when asked if he was going to vote, said "no" without hesitation.

"I feel it's all rigged and it's almost all a big joke, especially with our candidates this year and how things have been run this year, I just find it all too humorous for me to take it seriously to throw my opinion into the pool," said Smith.

Voter registration numbers are up across Texas, but smith's generation may be missing from the polls because of confusion about which candidate is best for them.

"People say they don't want to vote for Hillary Clinton because they don't trust her, so why do you trust Trump? And they don't have an answer," said Smith. "Neither one of them could be trusted."

So far between Randall and Potter counties, more than 140,000 people have registered to vote in the election - an all-time high.

But it won't be until election day in November that we learn if all those people actually exercise their right to vote.

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