In the lead-up to the midterms, there has been a swell of appeals to the country’s youngest voters. Survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting launched a nationwide voter-registration drive. Dozens of celebrities organized a live-streamed telethon aimed at directing young voters to the polls. In a rare political message, Taylor Swift, notably silent throughout the 2016 election, urged her 112 million Instagram followers to research their candidates and cast their vote.
It seems to be working.
Preliminary results from ABC exit polls suggest that voters ages 18 to 29 will make up 13 percent of the overall electorate in this year’s midterms, up from 11 percent in 2014. While early voting across every age group increased compared with the 2014 midterms, the surge is most pronounced among voters ages 18 to 29. More than 3.3 million voters from that group cast their votes early. That’s a 188 percent increase from 2014, according to data from TargetSmart, a political-data-analysis firm.
The spike in youth turnout in several key battleground states is particularly striking. In Texas, where young voters have rallied behind the Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, early voting increased fivefold for voters ages 18 to 29, according to The Hill. It’s the same story in Nevada, where there’s another hotly contested Senate race: Five times as many young voters turned out early in 2018 as they did in 2014.