Washington Examiner, November 2020
Young people, a traditionally unreliable voting bloc, appear to be turning out to cast their election ballots in greater numbers than in the past. But political observers are cautioning more casual spectators not to read too much into young people’s mail-in ballot requests and returns, as well as early in-person participation, until polls close.
Out of the more than 100 million ballots already cast before Tuesday’s elections, 10 million of them were by voters under the age of 30, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
And election officials in battleground states, such as Texas and Michigan, have reported record figures regarding young people, who tend to lean Democratic. In Texas, for instance, more than 1.3 million voters under the age of 30 have cast their ballots in a state with 38 electoral votes and a median age of 34.
That initial turnout data reflects Quinnipiac University’s national polling that tracks motivation between October 2016 and October 2020. Last month, 55% of voters aged between 18 and 34 were more motivated to take part in the election, 9% were less motivated, and 33% felt the same way. Last cycle, 46% were more motivated, 28% were less motivated, and 26% felt the same.
Marquette Law School Poll director Charles Franklin explained higher turnout was anticipated “across the board” this year and that participation rates increase from the age of 18 until a person reaches their 50s and 60s.
“There are years when the younger groups are more active: 2004 was an example in which the turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds rose noticeably from 2000, though it remained below that of those in their 30s or older,” he said.