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'Raucous Caucus' Encourages Kansas City Millennials To Vote

Cody Newill
The 'Raucous Caucus' event at Barney Allis Plaza Friday focused on getting millennials in touch with local politicians to motivate them to vote.

In 2014, more Kansas City voters over the age of 90 showed up to the polls than those under the age of 30 did, according to a voter analysis by civic engagement group mySidewalk. But there are a few groups in town that are trying to change those numbers.

The Raucous Caucus event at the Barney Allis Plaza Friday brought together city council members, hopeful candidates and dozens of millennials to talk about the issues in the coming municipal election. 

Credit Cody Newill / KCUR
Kansas City Mayor Sly James talks with a group of women at the event. Many city council members and candidates in the coming municipal election also attended.

The event was co-sponsored by mySidewalk, LiveKC and The Pitch. MySidewalk's Rachel DeSchepper says getting millennials to see the long-term effects of voting is key to getting them out to the polls.

"For millennials, maybe things that they're really passionate about like the streetcar or east side development, they don't see those issues on the ballot, so they don't think they have any say in it," DeSchepper said. "But the people you're voting in for the next four years, they're going to be making decisions that will affect us for the next 20 years."

Erik Wullschleger of LiveKC, a group focused on making Kansas City more attractive to millennials, says that he doesn't expect young voters to turn out in droves for municipal elections, but wants to start shifting voter demographics slowly.

"I want to at least move the statistic," Wullschleger said. "I think, realistically, we won't overtake the age 60 plus demographic, but can we at least beat the 90-year-olds? I'd like to think so."

Kansas City's general municipal election is June 23.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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