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The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

Greater participation possible among young, female voters

Although young voters typically have the lowest turnout, threats to abortion rights may lead to greater participation among college-aged women in the Pennsylvania general election.

Out of five female Wilkes University students questioned, four expressed interest in voting or plan to vote in the upcoming election on Nov. 8. All four cited threats to women’s rights as a major issue inspiring their interest in voting.

First-year mechanical engineering major Lauren Bowers said she was once involved with politics as her mother is a politician, but women’s rights issues further rekindled a desire to vote.

“Because of recent events with women’s rights and Roe v. Wade, I want to vote and get into it again,” Bowers said.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. This landmark case made access to an abortion a federal right, but now that it is overturned, state governments have the full authority to make decisions about abortion. Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania for now, but this may change depending on who wins the upcoming election.

“I feel like it (Roe v. Wade) is going to turn more moderate voters to the left side because even if you are a little iffy on reproductive rights, they are trying to totally get rid of them,” said junior biology student Jocelyn Cussatt. “The candidates for governor are totally on different sides of the issue.”

According to their campaign pages, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro believes abortion is healthcare and will defend a woman’s right to choose, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano plans to sign the “heartbeat bill” into law and end state funding to Planned Parenthood.

The “heartbeat bill” makes it illegal without exceptions to perform an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as five weeks into pregnancy.

Psychology student Lacie Walsh said she was thinking about voting for the first time because she does not support new abortion laws like the “heartbeat bill.”

These concerns over reproductive health rights may increase turnout among those 18 to 24 years old, the least politically active age demographic traditionally.

Political science professor Kyle Kreider said that this youth voter participation is important as sufficient voter turnout from a specific demographic allows for proper
representation in government.

“Clearly there is an argument that people make that—from a numbers perspective—their vote doesn’t matter,” Kreider said. “But if you look at what politicians talk about, things they vote on, … it’s clearly skewed to those who vote.”

Thus, a potential increase in voter turnout among young women may lead to proper representation of young women in government, which is unusual considering most politicians are more considerate of older, more active voters. This newfound interest in politics may not extend to all young people, however. Only half of the male students interviewed plan to vote.

Sophomore Taylor Christman said he does not plan to vote as he does not approve of candidates from either party.

Another student, first-year Chase Whittaker, said he is unsure about voting as he is not informed enough about either party to decide.

Although young men will likely continue to vote at average rates, it remains to be seen if young female voters will affect the outcome of the election.

For more information about the Pennsylvania state election, visit

About the Contributor
Sydney Allabaugh
Sydney Allabaugh, Opinion Editor
Sydney Allabaugh is the opinion editor of The Beacon. Allabaugh got her start with The Beacon as a contributing writer in the fall of 2021, became the opinion staff writer in the fall of 2022, worked as the assistant opinion editor in the spring of 2023, and was promoted to her current role in the fall of 2023. Allabaugh will be graduating in May of 2025 with a major in Communication Studies with concentrations in Media Production and Strategic Communication, as well as a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. Outside of The Beacon, Allabaugh is the director of Wilkes Now!, Wilkes' student-run television program. She joined Wilkes Now! in the fall of 2021, became a production assistant in the fall of 2022, and began directing in the fall of 2023.  Allabaugh is striving to work in television or public relations in her future.