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Young voters in Buffalo want to be part of change

“It's awesome to vote"
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Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 09, 2022

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Younger voters are turning out in what experts say are historically high rates in recent elections.  

7 News Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley spoke with some SUNY Buffalo State students about why it is so important for them to vote.

“It's awesome to vote,” declared Hanin Fisal, student, Buffalo State.

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Students Hanin Final and Zahraa Faisao at Buffalo State campus.

Two young Buffalo women attending SUNY Buffalo State tell me their parents influenced them to vote in Tuesday's election.

Hanin Final and Zahraa Faisao tell 7 News they are originally from the Middle East, but now as U.S. citizens living in Buffalo, they realize the importance of casting a ballot on election day. 

“Why was it important for you to vote?” Buckley asked. “I mean my parents did, so they advised me to do so,” Faisao replied. 

In 2016, 39% of those ages 18 to 29 voted, but in the 2020 presidential race, it jumped to 50%. 

According to an exit poll by Edison Research National Election exit poll finding that more than half of those 18 to 29, 63%voted for democrats, and 35 percent voted for republicans.

“Of course, I turned 18 this year, so it's my first time voting and I wanted to be part of the community,” explained Connor Doyle, student, Buffalo State.

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Connor Doyle, student, Buffalo State.

Doyle of West Seneca says he is a registered republican and gun laws and crime are important issues for him.

“As a voter, you're one of the many people who could make change in the world,” commented Doyle. 

“It's really exciting to see young people understand how the things that they care about can translate to making change,” reacted Laura Hill Rao, director of civic and community engagement, Buffalo State

Rao tells me students are very committed to social issues and this year gun violence and abortion rights were key in youth voting.

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Laura Hill Rao, director of civic and community engagement, Buffalo State.

“But it is something students really care about — conversations that we've had and they want to ensure that they have freedom in all the ways that they are used to it and the ways that our constitution allows for freedoms,” responded Rao. 

Buffalo State makes a major commitment to encourage students to vote. 

The campus even held a “Walk to the Polls" event to help students who were voting for the first time.

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Buffalo State students walk to polls to vote.

“Kind of fun walks over to the polls to try to help feel comfortable at the ballot or even drop off their absentee ballot,” Rao explained. 

Students learn that every vote counts with some races won by single digits. 

“It's important to make change — even one vote will count and, so yeah — I went and voted,” reflected Fisal.