Millennials Might Finally Turn Out in Huge Numbers for the 2018 Midterm Elections
Election Day is upon us. And while the midterm results won’t start trickling in until after 6 p.m. ET, there’s one thing we do know: voter registration numbers are huge—and turnout is poised to be, too.
Midterm elections are notoriously unpopular among Americans. In 2014, voter turnout was the lowest in 70 years, with just 36.4% of eligible voters casting a ballot. But people feel differently about this election, with more than half of Americans saying that the 2018 midterm election is more important than any other midterm in their lifetime.
And there’s a new sub-group showing enthusiasm this election cycle: millennials. 40% of young voters under 30 said they will “definitely” vote in 2018, according to a survey from the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a significant uptick from the previous midterm elections in 2014 and 2010.
It may be issues like the Parkland shooting or the after-effects of the economic recession that are driving youth voter interest, but a number of organizations are working hard to turn that interest into votes.
HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy, has been one of several organizations working over the last several months to get Americans, and especially young people, registered ahead of today’s election.
Since its founding, the organization has registered approximately 500,000 people at a range of live music events, working with musicians ranging from Death Cab for Cutie to Chance the Rapper, and Jay-Z to Phish. It counts Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Alyssa Mastromonaco, the former deputy chief of staff for operations under President Obama among its board of directors.
Working with Parkland students and other millennial celebrities, HeadCount launched “The Future Is Voting” in early September, a series of videos intended to turn voting “into an accessible cultural event that everyone wants to join” rather than “a political chore that many feel repelled by.”
And efforts such as these appear to have paid off. Among youth voters alone, HeadCount has registered 75,303 Americans in the last six months. That’s more than double the 23,000 voters the organization—which was founded in 2004—registered ahead of the 2014 midterms.
The data tells us it’s not just registration that is exceeding expectations. By the start of November, early voting in 19 states had already exceeded 2014 midterm voter turnout, with approximately 25.5 million Americans already casting their ballots. Some estimates suggest that voter turnout could even hit a 50-year high.
While registration deadlines have passed in most states, a handful allow same-day registration. Find out if your state is one of them and other information about how to cast your ballot here.