As the U.S. primes for the general election next month, early voting has already hit record numbers – and young, first-time voters are making their voices heard.
Early voting turnout for this election is already shattering expectations. Notably, according to a report conducted by conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, more than 3 million early or absentee ballots have been cast by young people (ages 18-29). The findings noted that over 2 million of those young people are located in key battleground states. This means that the number of early votes cast by youth has already surpassed the 2016 margin of victory in those areas.
CIRCLE shared a supporting graphic (seen below), which shows just how extreme the increase is from early voting by youths in 2020 and 2016. In Florida, for example, which is an important battleground state, early votes by young people have already surpassed 257 thousand, whereas in 2016 that number was merely 44 thousand.
While some of these findings are unsurprising given the increase of mail-in votes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the report notes that the numbers are still “especially dramatic.”
2020 is the first time that Millennials and Gen Z eligible voters equal Baby Boomers and older generations, a States of Change report found. Older voters typically turn out at higher rates than younger ones, however, the study forecast that this could change next month. This shift underscores the important role of the youth vote in deciding the election. A new poll from Axios and Survey Monkey shows that young voters support Biden over Trump by vast numbers.
We can observe the bipartisan split even further by looking at early voting stats across the board. Currently, there are more registered Democrats voting early than their Republican counterparts. With Republicans opting to vote on election day because the president has tried to sow confusion and fear around mail-in voting.
Overall, the early voting numbers are incredibly encouraging for the upcoming election and the shift among younger generations could have a much more enduring impact on the country.
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