Gen Z and first-time voters in Milwaukee weigh their political options at the polls

NOW: Gen Z and first-time voters in Milwaukee weigh their political options at the polls


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new crowd of voters is turning up in large numbers at the polls this midterm election, with big ticket items on the ballot.

Heading into the 2022 midterm elections young voters are grappling with big policy changes: abortion, student loan forgiveness, immigration, among a laundry list of other items. Some of these voters are stepping into the polls for the first time.

"Wisconsin could be just like it was, the tipping point state of the presidential election, it could be the tipping state to determine who controls the U.S. Senate," said Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Marquette University Paul Nolette.

On Tuesday, all eyes were on the Badger state, as the country cast its votes in some of the nation's most contentious races.

"A lot of people are looking at Wisconsin, about where the nation is headed," said Nolette.

Nolette goes on to say the turnout for this election could rival major elections of the past.

"We're having some of the biggest turnout, like in midterm elections 2018, that we saw in a hundred years."

A key group expected to vote includes Gen Z, meaning those born from the mid-late 90s through 2010, and first-time voters. This group of voters have definitely seen and heard campaign ads.

"We're getting multiple duplicate copies of all these advertisements, so constantly seeing it has definitely reminded me to come and vote," said Margaret Weiner, a junior studying public relations at Marquette University.

It's not just students weighing their options at the polls, but also new citizens like Joaquin Soto, who just became a U.S. citizen.

I've been waiting for this day since I was 18 years old. Even though I wasn’t born in this country, I'm as American as they come," said Soto.

The first-time voter goes on to say he sees the power in democracy.

"I don’t take it lightly and I encourage everyone out there to cast that ballot, make your voice be heard."

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