Low youth voter turnout in midterms has parties pondering new ways to engage

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from The Guardian,

Young Americans accounted for 13% of the electorate on Tuesday, down from 19% in the presidential election two years ago.

Young Americans formed 13% of the voters on Tuesday, as the lack of engagement that has beset previous midterm elections struck again and raised profound questions for how political parties interact with the country’s next generation.

Preliminary exit polls suggested 18- to 29-year-olds made up 13% of the nation’s midterm electorate. That was down from 19% in the 2012 presidential election – underlining the uphill battle to engage young Americans in the democratic process.

The youth slice of the electorate has remained stuck at the 12 or 13% in all of the past six midterms, other than 2002, when it dipped even lower to 11%.

In 2010, the 18-to-29 slice of the voter pie was 12%. However, when expressed as turnout – that is, the proportion of that age group that cast their ballot – the figure rose to 24%. But that still underscores the extent of the problem, as fewer than one in four young Americans had bothered to vote.

Ashley Spillane, president of the non-partisan group Rock the Vote, said she was heartened by the one-point rise in electoral share to 13% from 2010.

“That rise happened even when young people had to overcome deep cynicism about their interest levels this election cycle and despite discriminatory voter restrictions having been introduced across the country,” she said.

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