Connecting state and local government leaders

Voter Registration Increases Among Young People

Thirty-four of 39 states showed increases in youth voter registrations.

Thirty-four of 39 states showed increases in youth voter registrations. Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

A state-by-state analysis of voter registration data found a nationwide 2.16 percent increase among people ages 18-29.

Registration rates of young voters have increased significantly in battleground states since February, according to a recent analysis of registration data.

The analysis, compiled by data-management and consulting firm TargetSmart, uses Feb. 14—the date of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—as a reference point. That event “spurred a youth-led movement to register young voters across the country,” the report says, which may have contributed to the nationwide 2.16 percent increase in voter registrations among people between the ages of 18 and 29.

The state-by-state analysis reviewed voter registration data in 39 states where voter rolls have been updated since Feb. 14. Researchers calculated in each state the share of new registrants age 29 or younger in the period before the Parkland shooting compared to the share in the same time period after the shooting.

“Because states release voter file updates on varied schedules, the time period varies from state to state, but the period for analysis within each state included a symmetrical period before and after February 14,” according to the report.

Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in the 2016 election, had the largest surge of youth voter sign-ups, going from 45.2 percent to 61.4 percent of new registrants, an increase of 16.14 points. This November, Pennsylvanians will vote in races for governor, Senate and House seats.

Other states with large increases include Rhode Island (+11.05), New York (+10.7), Virginia (+10.49), Indiana (+9.87), Arizona (+8.16) and Florida (+7.99).

Thirty-four states showed increases in registrations among young voters, while five—Iowa, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia—had declines. D.C. residents voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but the other four states broke for President Donald Trump by 9 points or more.

View the full analysis here.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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