|Press Release: Young People Turn Out for 2012 Election|
Youth vote reflects the changing face of the American electorate
After months of political speculation and media murmurs, this 2012 election has finally put a rumor to rest—young people are not a one trick pony. Pundits predicted that the economy, high unemployment, and disengagement would prevent Millennials from turning out in large numbers at the polls. National exit polls show that the youth vote is here to stay with young people voting at historic levels, going from 18% in 2008 to 19% in 2012. Early exit poll data show that of those who voted in this election, one in five was between the ages of 18 and 29.
Young people are at the forefront of change in this country, helping to fight for marriage equality in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington; defeat an anti-choice ballot measure in Florida; elect the largest cohort of women ever to the Senate, including American’s first openly LGBT Senator; and make history with the passage of the Maryland Dream Act.
“Young people are an essential component of the rising political electorate; demographics tell us that this population alone will grow by 4 million every year through 2020 when they will number 103 million of voting age. They are more diverse, they are more progressive, and they demand to be heard,” said Deb Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We have a responsibility to work alongside young people, and we call on President Obama and elected leaders across the country to do the same.”
Politicians and their campaigns need to address the full range of issues that young people care about. The economy will certainly remain a central issue, but social issues—especially ones that deal with sexual health and rights—are an important touchstone for young people. Whether the issue is immigration reform, same-sex marriage, contraception, or abortion, Millennials are significantly more liberal than older generations and their voting power can no longer be ignored.
There are tens of thousands of young activists and leaders who are actively reshaping their communities and changing what politics looks like in this country. Over the next four years, young people will continue to lead us towards a more inclusive America, bringing with them new solutions and lasting change—after all, it is their future at stake.