The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement estimates that 50 to 52 percent of eligible voters under the age of 29 cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election. That’s nearly 10 points higher than in 2016.
“As a young person I wanted to make my voice heard because we’re gonna be living with the consequences of any legislature’s actions for the rest of our lives,” says student Sara Parower.
While youth are known to be politically active as young adults, their participation via voting is unprecedented.
“It’s a combination of when you’re a young adult, late adolescent young adult and starting to think about your world and your life and where you’re going…um…and what’s happening and so the coalescence of the historical moment I think just really meant that a whole lot of young adults were just really paying attention and caring and wanting to stand for the principles they believed in,” says emerita professor Connie Flanagan.
Issues that drove young people to the polls varied but many considered the planet and their status as young people when deciding who to vote for.
“Social justice and those issues, the environment, um…women’s rights, there’s a million issues that I think um…were really important in me in this election,” says student Ben Wolfson.
But young people did more than just vote in the election. They aimed to make their voice heard in other ways too.
“I worked at the polls. I posted on my social media a lot. Just like information about voting for students at the university and I also helped make sure all my friends were registered,” says student Emily Tomlin.
Experts are hopeful that the surge in political activism from young people is here to stay.