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Young Voters Feel Primary Excitement

Voters between the ages of 18 and 23 make up about 10% of the electorate this year, according to the Pew Research Center.

That could be a make-or-break margin for the list of candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

This will be Salaar Khan’s first presidential primary but politics are hardly new to the 18-year-old high school senior from Henrico County.  "I’d say I’m pretty politically active. I’ve been a part of the Democratic party since I was 14 years old," Khan says. 

He spent last year rallying young voters to participate in the General Assembly election that saw Democrats take the majority.  Now he’s focused on keeping liberals in Congress and taking President Trump out of office. 

Khan says he’s noticed an increase in participation among his peers since the U.S. House of Representatives flipped from red to blue in 2018.  He expects that momentum to continue on Tuesday.  "Definitely a bigger group of people have been mobilized in the past couple of years who are my age, so I think a solid portion of them, especially in this area, are going to be voting."

Who they’re showing up for is another matter. The mixed bag of candidates makes it difficult to decide who’s best suited to win in November, says Khan. "I haven’t quite made up my mind yet," he admits. 

His biggest concern? Electability.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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