Voting to the Youth

Youth voter experts are reporting and analyzing record high voting in the 2020 presidential election among young voters.

“We are seeing record breaking turnout in this year’s election, as millions of American show up to be heard,” said Mike Burns, National Director of Campus Vote Project. “That combined with a large shift to voting by mail means we will need to be patient while all those ballots are counted, but that is the process working as it should.”

As the entire country is waiting on bated breath for the results of the 2020 presidential election, there is one notable point of pride—the voter turnout in the U.S. is well exceeding that of previous elections. This level of engagement and civic responsibility is worth celebrating.

Nearly 10 million young people between ages 18 and 29 either voted early or absentee. Currently, although votes are still being counted, preliminary data as of November 3, CIRCLE estimates that young voters share of the vote in this election is 17 percent, up from 16 percent in 2016. Simon Rosenberg, advisor to Clean & Prosperous America, believes there are several reasons young people felt compelled to vote this year including the government’s response to Covid-19, the protests that took place earlier this year, racial injustice, gun violence, and climate change. “It’s sort of like a perfect storm that is causing high youth voter turnout,” he said.

“What’s interesting is that it’s heavy everywhere,” said Rosenberg. “It’s not just in the states where there has been heavy advertising. This looks to be a national phenomenon. It’s exciting. It’s encouraging for the future.” He explains that keeping young people engaged is the key to high youth voter turnout.

Burns explains that the youth have always been at the forefront of social justice movements from the Civil Rights and Anti-war movements of the 60’s to today’s movements for climate and racial justice. “Young people have been in the streets this year, now they are taking those concerns to the ballot box, and next year they need to continue taking those concerns to city halls and state capitals around the country.”

Part of this youth engagement continuing is based in if the systems in place before young people turn 18 withstand and improve. This includes nonpartisan teaching about elections and voting in schools, media that centers young people’s voices, and electoral laws like online voter registration and automatic voter registration that make participation easier.

The bottom line? Young people of today are the future of this country, and they’re finally beginning to realize the impact they can have. Although we don’t have all the results from this election quite yet, what we do know is young people are finally showing up and engaging in big ways. Perhaps a victory in itself.

-Heather Kays, Content Creator

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