Early Voting Report: Millennials Didn’t Ghost the Vote, Nor Crush It

While youth early voting numbers were called surging, preliminary overall voter turnout results are indicating Millennials and Gen Z did not dominate the 2018 Midterm elections.

Absentee and early voting for youth aged 18 to 29 — and other age groups — increased in several states for the 2018 Midterms. But early youth voting in Illinois, for example, is up 144 percent from participation in the 2014 Midterms, USA Today cited.

The TurboVote app alone registered more than 70 percent of the 6,200 undergraduates at the University of Chicago, according to the story.

A report by National Public Radio on election night said the political-data-analysis firm TargetSmart, which is studying the demographics of early voting, found the increase in early youth voting — and drop in early voting by those age 50+ — to be a notable correlation:

The early youth vote accounted for 3.3 million voters, a 188 percent increase from 2014, according to the company.

The Atlantic reported that early analysis of the ABC network’s exit polls indicated that on Election Day, Millennials and Gen Z also showed up to the polls. But, noted the preliminary results suggest voters ages 18 to 29 made up just 13 percent of the overall electorate of the 2018 Midterms — up from 11 percent in 2014.

While hotly contested races generated higher youth voter turnout in some states and regions, like Nevada:

Five times as many young voters turned out early in 2018 as they did in 2014.”

It’s just not likely to be as historically high a turnout as some conjectured throughout the year when the final analyses come in.

The Conversation, in an October 19th article updated today, indicated voter turnout is up 10 percent from 2014, according to a preliminary estimate by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The Center’s director, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, said voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds in the 2018 midterm elections was 31 percent.

That’s the highest youth turnout my colleagues and I have observed since we started collecting data in 1994,” Kawashima-Ginsberg wrote.

The increases may be promising, they tease a potential “youth wave.” After all, youth voters always have the most lackluster voter turnout of any age group in every election since the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping track of voter-age data, The Atlantic points out.

But, Teen Vogue in its Election Day coverage, said that with the same amount of eligible voters under 35 as there are Baby Boomers this year, the youth vote had the opportunity to most influence the midterms.

That didn’t happen. As one reader of the Conversation, JoJo Smith put it:

31 percent is still pretty crappy…”

Explore additional coverage of voter turnout:

Don’t Overlook Rides to the Polls to Increase Voter Turnout

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.