If young voters turn out to vote, it could make a difference, but the question is, will they? Back in the early 1970s, the voting age was lowers to 18, and in the peak of agitation and engagement towards social and cultural change, they predicted that the turnout among young voters would be high. However, it was not. Historically, youth vote has been less than 20% compared to 40% of the general population. However, this election season, registration among young voters has been up, and a recent poll showed that 4 out of 10 adults under 30 would “definitely vote” which if true, would be the highest voter turnout rate in decades. Still, young people have a bad reputation with turnouts, so we won’t know the real percentage until after November 6.
The cause of low turnouts for young voters is due to several factors: confusion with voting and registering, college students not being registered within their college’s county or permanently living within that state, lack of driver’s licenses or photo IDs, and simply thinking that their vote doesn’t matter. Even if young voter turnout increases this year, typical midterm turnout among youth is 20-25% so a slight increase this year would still be relatively low.
If young voters DO come out and vote, they tend to lean Democrat over Republican and are concerned about issues like gun control, reproductive rights, climate change, and police brutality. In addition to these issues, a lot of young voters are motivated by President Trump who only has a 26% approval rating from young Americans.
Click here to read the full 11/2/18 article by Sydney Ember from The New York Times.