CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

The New Group of Potential Youth Voters

May 17th, 2011
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In 2010 there were approximately 4,579,000 17-year olds, according to Census data, analyzed by CIRCLE. Divided by 365 days, that means that roughly 12,500 young people turn 18 each day. To put this number into perspective, there were 45.5 million citizens between 18-30 in 2010. This new group of potential voters could make a difference in the 2012 Presidential Election.  A first step, however, is voter registration.

Voter registration is often a multi-step process, but giving young people the knowledge on how to register, where to register, and registration deadlines may make registration more accessible. It is a requirement to vote in almost all states (with the exception of North Dakota). If a young person navigates the registration process, research suggests that voter turnout rates are positively related with voter registration rates in Presidential elections (with one exception since 1972). If things continue on this trajectory, breaking down barriers to registration may be a good option in getting the almost-eligible voters engaged in the process as early as possible. Registration does not always lead to higher turnout, though, and is by no means the only step to engage young people in the political process.

-Surbhi Godsay

One Response to “The New Group of Potential Youth Voters”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Have you heard about FL HB 1355 that is putting restrictions on voter registration in the state and voter address changes and election day voting? Opponents of the bill state that the bill is disenfranchasing college age students in particular. EX: If a student is from Key West and goes to college in Tampa, the college student used to be able to show up at the polls on election day and cast a regular ballot. If this bill gets signed into law by Gov. Scott, not anymore, the student will cast a provisional ballot. In Florida those ballots are only counted in “close elections”.

    Just something to think about that deals with this new group of voters.