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Early Young Voter Turnout Is at a Historic High, and It’s Already Changing the Game in the 2020 Election

The data speaks for itself.

Believe it or not, in a year featuring enough apocalyptic archetypes for Stephen King to consider it horrifying, there are still silver linings to get excited about. One of them seems to be young people getting more involved in a clear and direct expression of civic duty: voting! For years, data has proven that if you’re a young person living in the United States, you probably don’t vote. That seems to be changing. Ahead of Election Day tomorrow, high millennial and Gen Z turnout numbers are already posing a delightful surprise to researchers, and it’s worth digging into.

Close any open doomsday news tabs, pull up a chair, and let’s dive right in, because for once this year, we come bearing positive political news!

FIRST THINGS FIRST: YOUNG PEOPLE COULD GIVE BABY BOOMERS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY IN TERMS OF ELECTORAL POWER To understand why high youth voter turnout data matters so much, it’s important to contextualize it. For more than 20 years, Baby Boomers have been the largest eligible voting population in the United States, but 2020’s being very...2020 by shaking things up.

Census data analyzed by the Brookings Institution shows more than half of Americans are millennials or younger, and they now make up 37 percent of the eligible voting population (more than *ever* before). In fact, the data shows this demo is just as large as eligible voters in the Baby Boomer and older generations, which could make electoral power more evenly distributed. A new study from the nonpartisan States of Change project also comes to this conclusion, stating millennials and Gen Z will equal Baby Boomers and prior generations as a share of all Americans eligible to vote in 2020.

The serious caveat here is that historically, younger voters have had lower turnout rates, but THAT is why early data showing record young turnout numbers is so monumental. If you’ve asked a friend about their voting plan (don’t have one? We can help) or taken any steps to make sure your younger loved ones vote, you have directly contributed to this shift. 👏

THE DATA DOESN’T LIE: YOUNG PEOPLE ARE MOVING FROM VOTING IN SPURTS TO VOTING IN AVALANCHES According to Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (aka CIRCLE), 2020 young voter turnout numbers are looking strong so far. CIRCLE’s data shows that more than seven million 18- to 29-year-olds have already voted.

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How to Register to Vote in Every State “With a week of early voting (when the data was collected) and Election Day still to come, in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Montana, young people have already cast at least half as many votes as they did total votes in the last presidential election,” CIRCLE reports.

On Monday, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics released data with similar implications. After surveying 18- to 29-year-olds, Harvard reported that 63 percent said they were “definitely” voting in the 2020 election. NPR calls this the highest proportion of respondents Harvard has seen in 20 years of conducting the poll, and it’s 16 percent higher than in 2016.

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