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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

MT's young, rural voters in spotlight

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author Mark Moran, Producer-Editor

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Thursday, May 30, 2024   

Get-out-the-vote advocates in Montana are spending more time and money than ever to get young people educated about the elections and get them to the polls.

In Montana, young voters make up more than a quarter of the electorate. Nationwide, 63% of rural youths -- or about 30 million people -- are either infrequent or uncommitted voters. And of all the country's voter demographics, people younger than 35 are the most undecided. In Montana, young voters make up 28% of the state's electorate, but turn out in lower numbers than older voters.

Kiersten Iwai, executive director of Forward Montana, said organizers are trying to change it by mobilizing voters younger than 35 in small towns and rural areas.

"We are registering voters. We are calling them. We will be knocking on doors," Iwai outlined. "We will be hosting events and candidate forums to really build a lot of energy and excitement."

Iwai noted Montana's sheer size presents obstacles to voting, including for young people. So the Rural Youth Voter Fund is working to bring young people from rural areas together to discuss things such as health care, economic well-being, reproductive rights, climate and education.

Iwai pointed out while it is not something people tend to think of as a problem, young, rural Montanans are also facing a housing shortage which can cause additional obstacles to voting.

"And that's impacting people's abilities to not just live here but also like when they'll get their ballot and if their ballot will actually be mailed to them," Iwai emphasized.

The Rural Democracy Initiative has created an online dashboard to help people determine what "rural" really means. It provides county-by-county data on demographics and other key election issues.


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