Kokomo’s Karson Parrott is perhaps typical of young voters across Indiana as the presidential election approaches.

The 19-year-old, who is studying cybersecurity and global policy at Indiana University, feels underrepresented in politics.

“The younger generation is often overlooked, especially in our education system,” Parrott said. “The best thing they could do to give the younger generation hope is getting younger people into office.

“They (politicians and most elected officials) are so much older than us. They grew up different from us. That is the biggest disconnect.”

Parrott feels particularly disenfranchised when it comes to the two major parties’ candidates for president, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, noting that both were his age more than 50 years ago.

“I hate to break it to those guys, but how our generation grew up is different,” he said. “There is no way they can get educated on this. We need someone younger.”

Journalists with CNHI newspapers across the state interviewed young voters recently and found a deep sense of disenfranchisement. Here’s what some of them had to say:


To Logansport High School senior Casen Lake, the most important issues include the economy, the future of U.S. democracy, border security and climate change.

He’s not satisfied that either major party presidential candidate would address the important issues effectively, but he leans toward Trump.

“He’s the better option when it comes to foreign policy and handling conflicts, and I personally think the economy was better under his administration,” Lake said, noting he’d like to have other options in the presidential race.

“It’s just another rerun for who’s the better of the two, considering neither are good,” he explained. “I believe that a younger candidate may have been better, someone who is seasoned in policy decisions and (has) younger views, but at the same time not too young that they don’t have experience.”

Lake also said he liked the campaign platform of Vivek Ramaswamy before he dropped out of the Republican race and that he’d consider voting for independent Robert Kennedy Jr. if “he had a better chance” in the general election.


Madison Coffey, 22, a stay-at-home mom in Greensburg, is expecting another child. She’s disenchanted by politicians’ approach to women’s health.

“I watched (the) majority of the State of the Union address (in early March), and there was a good chunk that had to do with women’s reproductive health and rights from Biden,” she said.

“I’m tired of this being used as a quick grab towards women voters each election yet not much ever gets done. (It sounds) like a publicity stunt rather than an actual promise of something large the candidate will actually push towards.”

Coffey doesn’t hold out much hope “when most of the people making choices over women’s bodies (are) men over the age of 50.”


Alejandra Gomez Moreno, a senior at Washington High School in southwestern Indiana, is focused on the cost of college.

“I’m stressing over how much I’m going to have to pay,” she said. “There is so much detail we have to focus on and worry about, while balancing school and work.”

It doesn’t help, she said, that she doesn’t know whom to believe about important issues.

“It’s hard to identify what is real and what is truthful,” Moreno explained. “There is so much being said out there, it’s hard to sort out the truth.”


Christian Scott, a 21-year-old self-described moderate, is leaning toward the left.

The Indiana University Southeast senior living in New Albany is disappointed in both Trump and Biden and would rather have either someone younger take their place or have Bernie Sanders as one of the candidates.

“Medical care as a whole, that’s still a huge issue,” he said. “Even if it’s not on voters’ minds as much, it’s still very much there. I would think that Bernie Sanders could get more done in that regard.”

Scott, who hopes to attend law school, is baffled by the lack of ascendant candidates in the Democratic Party.

“There is no Obama type of figure that exists within the DNC at all, for some reason,” Scott said. “Obama would have easily won the last two elections, I believe, if he was allowed to run anymore.”

Other issues on Scott’s mind include the economy, the war in Gaza and abortion.


Charlize Frazier is no fan of Donald Trump, but also thinks Joe Biden is out of touch.

As an advocate for reproductive and trans rights, she used to fear what Trump might do. Now Frazier, a Lebanon High School senior, thinks he’s mostly bluster.

And she has this to say about Biden:

“He feeds the public stories he thinks will placate the masses. ... He doesn’t realize how much information the American people already have about situations. He’s used to a time when the president knew everything, and the people were just fed information by the government. He doesn’t act very presidential.”

Frazier doesn’t necessarily look forward to voting but thinks doing so is important. The young Democrat has paid attention to current events so she can be ready.


Jackson Sawyer is focused on the economy, health care and abortion laws as the presidential election approaches.

“Those things are the biggest issues because they affect me the most,” said Sawyer, a 25-year-old medical school student who was interviewed in Terre Haute.

Rather than Trump and Biden, he’d like candidates more like Pete Buttigieg or Mitt Romney for president. Neither are running.

“From the left side, the liberal side, Buttigieg would be OK. On the other side ... Romney, he’s kind of like John McCain in the sense that he doesn’t do strictly for party values, he does it for his own values. I don’t know who on the right right now would be like that.”


Madeline Bollinger, 20, said she often feels “frustrated with the two-party system.”

The Goshen College junior studying elementary education would vote for Biden, almost by default.

“I feel like we end up voting against candidates instead of voting for them,” she said.
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