Youth Participation in the 2020 U.S. Election
With the US election coming to its close we thought it would be a good time to have a look at how young people participated this year. The data projects that once all votes have been counted, the youth turnout will be around 53%-56% which is approximately a 10% increase from 2016. Not only did the youth vote increase but it also had a major impact on the outcome of the election, as Biden won a majority of the youth vote in key battleground states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Another interesting statistic about the election was how young people of colour overwhelmingly supported Joe Biden, with Black, Asian, and Latino voters supporting Biden by 76-, 69- and 51-point margins respectively.
The most important causes that drove youth turnout were also different to that of the rest of the electorate. Whilst most of the electorate had the coronavirus pandemic as their number one issue, young people were more likely to say that issues such as climate change and racism were the most important.
It seems that one of the major factors that led to an increase in youth turnout were things such as same-day registration, secure ballot drop-off boxes on college campuses, early voting and an increase in the number of states who allowed absentee ballots without a reason.
Perhaps the UK can learn from this US election when it comes to increasing youth voter turnout with initiatives such as same day voter registration. It is positive to see that the US has seen a 10% increase in youth participation as this may signal the start of a trend which would only have a positive impact on democracy.