know about Mobilize Young Voters in the South for the Midterm Elections
Across the South and the country, efforts are underway to mobilize young people to vote in this year’s midterm elections building on their unprecedented engagement in the last presidential election.
In 2020, turnout among voters ages 18 to 29 increased about 8 percentage points from 2016, with half of all eligible voters under the age of 30 casting ballots, according to a study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a Tufts University institute that studies younger voters. CIRCLE’s analysis found that young voters gave Democrats a critical advantage in several key battleground states, including Georgia, where Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by fewer than 12,000 votes.
“Young people likely voted at one of the highest rates in decades, cementing their place as a critical part of the electorate, capable of shaping national priorities on issues like the pandemic, the environment and racial justice.” said CIRCLE director Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg.
The trend of increased engagement among young voters can also be seen in recent midterm elections in southern states. In 2018, for example, Georgia saw a 20 percentage point increase in youth voter turnout over the 2014 midterms, while Texas tripled its 2014 youth voter turnout rate of 8.2%. Voting rights advocates attribute the surge in turnout to years of grassroots organizing and efforts to combat voter suppression.
Among the voter suppression tactics that Republican-controlled legislatures have used to target young voters are strict voter ID laws, voter registration restrictions, and the closure of campus polling places. In fact, researchers have found a strong correlation between increased youth participation and policies that make voting and registration easier, such as self-registration, same-day registration, early voting, and no-excuses absentee voting: youth participation in states with four or more of these policies in place was 54%, compared to 43% in states with only one to three of these policies. Youth participation is generally lower in southern states, which are less likely to have such provisions on the books.
“All the things that we see that make it more difficult to vote early or vote by mail affect a number of different communities, but students are very high on that list.” said Bob Brandon, president and CEO of the Center for Fair Elections, which recently published a to study on barriers to youth voting.
Roe rule a motivator
This election year, NextGen America, a progressive youth-focused advocacy group launched in 2013 by liberal billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, is leading a campaign to mobilize voters ages 18 to 35. The effort objectives to connect with 9.6 million young voters in eight states, including North Carolina and Texas in the south.
Earlier this year, NextGen organizers and volunteers in North Carolina sent text messages and phone calls and hosted voter registration events on college campuses, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Between March and mid-May alone, the organization reached out to more than 1.6 million North Carolina youth, and plans to ramp up its efforts through November.
“We are proud of the work that‘we have done so far, but‘We’re not stopping here,” Erik Daniels, State Director for NextGen America North Carolina. said in a sentence. “Us‘I am ready to continue creating a state that truly represents the values of young people by participating in record numbers.”
In February alone, NextGen reached more than 2 million young Texans through text, calls and in-person contacts. Organizers and volunteers at the Lone Star State have also set up voter registration booths on college campuses, including at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech, Texas State, Texas Southern, and Tarrant County Community College. In all, the group reached out to youth in all 254 Texas counties and 2,273 zip codes, according to organizers.
“By connecting with millions of young voters, NextGen is laying the foundation for youth participation in 2022 and in all future Texas elections,” said Cristina Tzintzún Ramírez, President of NextGen America. said.
Young people were already showing higher levels of concern than their older counterparts about climate change, LGBTQ rights, gender equality, gun control, and racial justice, and then came the US Supreme Court attack. against the constitutional right to abortion. A recent CBS/YouGov poll found that 68% of Americans ages 18 to 29 disapprove of overturning Roe v. Wade, while 78% support abortion being legal in all or most cases. Meanwhile, recent CIRCLE surveys found that 41% of young people, the highest of any age group, said the decision makes them more likely to vote in 2022.
“The millions of young people mobilized by NextGen are ready to fight back and stop the erosion of other basic rights like access to contraception, gay marriage, and even our basic right to vote.” said Tzintzun Ramirez.