Young Voters Rock the 2022 Midterms
Young voters upended 2022 midterm predictions by turning out in historic numbers, and providing the margin of victory in several key races while shutting down the immediate threat of election deniers. Showing up with potent force, voters 18-29 sent a message loud and clear: this is our democracy and we demand action.
Young voters were the only age group with strong majority support for Democrats over Republicans (2:1), particularly among Black, Latino, and Asian youth. Leaders who delivered on 2020 promises, candidates who pledged continued progress, and ballot measures on issues important to young people overwhelmingly earned their support.
But, young voters are not done flexing their power as we organize for runoff elections giving young voters another opportunity to demonstrate their influence and put the finishing touch on the next Congress that they had such a heavy hand in selecting.
Over the last three federal elections, young voters have overcome barriers to consistently make up 12-13% of all voters, bucking previous trends and setting a new standard.
Despite young voters’ demonstrated power and their growing influence impacting elections, there continues to be gross underinvestment in engaging and turning out young people to vote. Mobilizing young voters takes time, resources, and year-round engagement as they are new voters unfamiliar with a process that is often designed to keep them out. Continuing to underinvest and take young voters for granted would be a grave mistake, particularly as efforts to suppress their vote are renewed.
While young voters’ influence is growing, so too are efforts to suppress their power. Those who fear an inevitable power shift to a younger, more diverse generation have already sounded the alarm with dangerous proposals like raising the voting age – a naked admission that some would prefer to deny young people’s freedom to vote than to compete and deliver on their priorities. Young people need allies to denounce these attacks because as long as we continue to show up and win, suppressive efforts are sure to continue.
As this election proved, when issues important to young people are put front and center and we invest in long-term, year-round voter registration, education and mobilization efforts, real change is possible. But it cannot happen overnight. That’s why we at Rock the Vote aren’t letting up. The stakes are too high, and time is too short. We need to leverage the momentum of this moment and keep building because 2024 starts now.