USA TODAY Column: Part II: Young Voters Increased by 2 Million

LatinaLista — In today’s opinion section of USA TODAY, there appears a column of mine.

In the column, I basically explain that while the turnout numbers weren’t great for Latinos in this election it didn’t mean that we don’t have potential. As with every group, our potential to be a strong political force lies with our future generations.


Democratic supporters react to news of gaining majority in Senate
(Source: Reuters)

It seems the next generation of voters is already answering the call to perform their civic duty.

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) released a study today that showed that an estimated 10 million young Americans under the age of 30 voted in this week’s election. That was an increase of at least two million since the 2002 elections.

It seems voters under the age of 30 accounted for 13% of all voters.

Some additional facts were:

Nationwide, 61% of young voters voted for Democratic candidates.

The states with the highest proportion of young voters turning out were: Montana, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri.

Which unfortunately leads us to the assumption that, at this point in time, that Latino youth are not as much of a contributing factor in this higher turnout rate.

By virtue of the four states above that had the highest youth voter turnout, none of them have high enough concentrations of Hispanic populations to be considered a viable factor.

Mark Lopez, research director of CIRCLE, told Latina Lista that when surges in youth voter numbers are seen like this, it’s usually white and black college students who are driving the numbers. He said that often black college students will even outperform white peers in turning out for elections.

Of the states that do have high concentrations of Hispanics, Lopez said that there weren’t any hotly contested or close races leading the researchers to believe that the Latino youth vote numbers hadn’t really changed in those states.

But from Census data showing the steady increase in the Latino population, the potential is still there.

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