youth voting backlash

The New York Times‘ Neil Vigdor cites two research findings from my Tisch College colleagues in his article entitled, “Republicans Face Setbacks in Push to Tighten Voting Laws on College Campuses.”


Between the 2018 and 2022 elections in Idaho, registration jumped 66 percent among 18- and 19-year-old voters, the largest increase in the nation, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. The nonpartisan research organization, based at Tufts University, focuses on youth civic engagement.

And then:

Nearly 59 percent of students at traditional colleges in New Hampshire came from out of state in 2020, according to the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts.

The main thesis of the article is that Republican state legislators are introducing legislation to make voting harder for young people or for college students, particularly in states where the youth and/or college vote has been strong lately. However, only some of these bills have passed. For example, Idaho banned using student ID cards for voting, but a New Hampshire bill that would have required student voters to prove that they pay in-state tuition died in committee.

Since the 2002 election, we have consistently analyzed the youth vote and been able to show that it is especially consequential in some states and in some races. Our research has challenged the traditional view that youth never vote much, which discourages campaigns from contacting youth–a classic vicious cycle. Generating data about young voters seems essential for encouraging turnout, but when there’s good news, sharing it may sometimes trigger backlash. It’s encouraging to see some successful resistance.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.