Youth Voting Surges Nationwide
Pop culture has been a factor in encouraging young people to use their voice and exercise their right to vote. After Taylor Swift’s Instagram post encouraging her fans to participate in early voting, 65,000 new voter registrations popped up within a 24-hour period.
59 percent of adults eligible to vote are Millennials and Gen Xers, according to the most recent data available by Pew Research Center. Since 2014, the number of youth generation voters has increased by 18 million.
A possible contributing factor to this spike in youth voting could be what’s being called the Parkland effect, a campaign organized by high school students advocating for stricter gun laws. After the tragic school shooting that shattered their high school taking 17 lives of students and teachers, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have partnered with around 200 mayors across the country in a joint effort to increase youth voting. In Florida specifically, youth voter registration is up more than 40 percent, and up by double-digits in numerous states.
Another reason for youth voter increase could very well be Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class, a high school course on the history of voting and its importance. The class was launched to 2,000 schools and over 100 schools districts and organizations.
Pennsylvania is leading with registered voters 34 and younger now outnumbering those 65 and older, according to the Pennsylvania State Department issued Aug 13. Voters under 30 now account for nearly two-thirds of new registered voters. Other states including Arizona, Florida, New York, and Virginia have also seen steep increases.
Youth voters aged 18–29 are eager and registered in high numbers for this year’s election. If they turn out on Nov. 6 in larger numbers than usual, they could be decisive in close races.
Today marks the first day of early voting in Arkansas.
While Election Day is Nov. 6, individuals can vote early in Arkansas starting today through Nov. 5.
For more information on Arkansas voting and polling locations, can you visit https://www.voterview.ar-nova.org/VoterView/Home.do.