Common Cause released a new report on youth voting trends, opportunities and obstacles faced by Millennials as they seek to make their voices heard in the 2016 election. Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers to become the largest generation of living Americans but youth voter turnout lagged far behind their older counterparts in 2012 (38% to 63.4%).
The report – Tuning In and Turning Out: Millennials are active but not voting. What’s stopping them and how can they make their voices count? – examines the current national legal and political landscape, policies that encourage youth voting and how young people are increasing political engagement and voter turnout.
“Millennials have shown a strong commitment to political involvement, but in November they have the opportunity make history by flexing their political muscle in numbers unseen from previous generations at the same age,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “Youth voting spiked in 2008, but since then numerous legislatures have made a concerted effort to determine which citizens vote and which do not for purely partisan gain. Those efforts have been fought in the courts and at the ballot box and this generation can leave a lasting mark in November on the nation it stands to inherit.”
The first section of the report focuses on the history of the 26th Amendment, which Common Cause played a leading role in passing to lower the national voting age to 18, the youth turnout since its passage, and new obstacles to voting by young Americans which have appeared in recent years.
The second section of the report examines policy solutions that modernize opportunities for registration and voting and recommends their adoption by more states and localities. The final section of the report looks at steps, including field organizing techniques, taken by Millennials to help pass such reforms into law and other ways to help increase the political voice and participation of the generation. The report was authored by Common Cause staffers Yael Bromberg, Allegra Chapman and Dale Eisman.
The report will be released later today at an event featuring U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and a panel discussion on youth voting moderated by author Ari Berman of The Nation magazine and featuring national voting rights experts and student leaders from across the country sharing their experiences. The students, participating in the event via videoconference, bring a broad range of experiences from campuses across the nation:
- North Carolina Central University
- University of California Berkley
- University of Michigan
- Gettysburg College
The event will be presented by Common Cause and hosted by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University from 1-2:30pm today in the University’s Jack Morton Auditorium at 805 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052.
To learn more about the event, click here.
To read the report, click here.