Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, November 7 2012 at 5:34 PM, Updated: Thu, November 8 2012 at 11:25 AM
According to some experts, close to 17-million more young people were eligible to vote this election season than four years ago.
University students NBC 5 spoke with were optimistic about voter turnout. They said in a political climate where young people have been largely marginalized, more and more, their voices are getting heard.
For Southern Oregon University sophomore Heather Goerger, this election was a milestone.
"It was my first time voting for president...was proud to vote in this election, was glad I got to," said Goerger.
Many other students voted for the first time. After a big push this election season on university campuses nationwide to register to vote.
"Here at SOU we registered 1019 students to vote that's considering there's 6000 students on campus," said SOU OSPIRG Campus Organizer.
Student volunteers were out in droves this year, encouraging people to make their voices heard.
"I think more and more legislators are starting to hear the voice of students," said Jason Pennell, one of the Rock the Vote student organizers.
Some young people said they're feeling more empowered, especially after seeing same-sex marriage pass in Maine, Maryland and Washington as well as the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado.
"I feel like there's a climate of hope at least and it's really encouraging to see that kind of thing happening around the country," said Toby Stein, an SOU sophomore.
"I think the youth definitely have a big influence," said Heather Goerger.
"In general there are a lot of people who want to change things, especially young people," she said.
According to experts, the young vote is becoming increasingly influential. That's good news for students like Goerger...as more youth cast their ballots.
Before election day this year, pundits thought there would be fewer young voters than 2008...apathetic after an economic decline under President Obama. However, according to recent reports, more 18-29 year-olds voted this year in comparison to 2008.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.