Political events impacting local voters
With the impeachment, foreign interference, and social media, there has been a polarizing shift in how people handle politics. With the election year looming, local groups are doing what they can to get the facts out there.
On the heels of the impeachment vote, there is a strong divide in the country between parties. Political Science Professor Robert Amyot of Hastings College said it is one of the things that has political opinion divided on both sides.
“If they were leaning one way or the other they have just really locked it in instead of moving towards the middle saying maybe there is some good evidence for the other side and whatever that might be,” Amyot said.
He said voters on the fence are confused and may have tuned out impeachment coverage. He also said people will still vote down party lines even if they don't like their party's candidate.
“Rural Nebraskans who I have talked to who have misgivings about the president or maybe even the Republican party they're maybe not entirely comfortable with certain things that he said and certainly not with his trade policies, they're really afraid of Democrats and what the Democrats would do if they had power,” Amyot said.
Some Local4 viewers said they vote for the best person for the position. Those voters are fed up with politicians fighting. With social media making it easier to share national coverage of issues, Amyot said it is beginning to affect local elections.
“I think more and more issues truly are national and that we are seeing them reflected on the local level. You know somebody is running for city council and the first question they get at the local forum is 'what's your position on abortion?' and they're like that's irrelevant. I am not going to get a chance to vote on that,” Amyot said.
With a distrust of new sources and social media posts, local groups like the Hastings League of Women Voters help spread facts.
“The fact we are nonpartisan I think gives us credibility in terms of all that polarization that's going on. Certainly individuals within the group have their own opinions but we're educational and giving out facts,” Co-President Judy Sandeen said.
The group hosts events where experts come to talk about state and national topics.
“Too often people have made up their minds before they have the facts so that's a function of league, I think, is to inform people about things they might not have thought about before and then have better information on which to make up their minds,” Sandeen said.
Gallup polls show that Americans are about 65% more enthusiastic to vote in the upcoming election. That goes for republicans and democrats. If you want to attend a League of Women Voters event you can find their event information on Facebook.