Washington, DC - November 16, 2016
Throughout this intense election cycle, you have heard from us periodically on the state of the race among Millennial voters. Our mission at Rock the Vote is to engage and mobilize young people to take action, to facilitate their engagement in the political process and to reflect their voices as their advocates and champions in the nonpartisan political space. And as their champions, we are fully engaged in breaking down Millennials’ performance and preferences this election, and contextualizing the strategies we used to register and to drive them to the polls.
We are both available and excited to speak with you about this data, and also a look ahead to our efforts in the coming months and years as we prepare for 2017 state and local elections, the 2018 midterms and (yes) the 2020 presidential election.
2016: The Millennial Vote
Increases in presidential election turnout among young voters in 2004, 2008 and 2016 shows high voter turnout is a distinctive trait of the Millennial generation and dispels the myths that they are disinterested or apathetic. Young people did make their voices heard on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 and continued to use them in the following days by protesting in cities across the country.
Partisan Breakdown & Candidate Support
For months, we all predicted that Millennials would once again be a decisive voice in the 2016 presidential race. As the largest and most diverse generation in American history, the opportunity for them was there. So why were older generations able to overrule Millennials?
Undoubtedly, turnout was effected by voter suppression and the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). In the first presidential election without the VRA’s full protections, discriminatory practices that disproportionally affect youth — particularly young people of color, who comprise over 40% of the generation — had a substantial impact. We will be working to further analyze data and reports to tell this story and will continue fighting for a restoration of VRA protections.
A Path Forward
Research shows that once people register and vote for the first time, they are more likely to continue voting in future elections. In 2016 alone, Rock the Vote registered over 1.6 million new voters.
As we look ahead to elections in the coming years, we will help young people across the country to channel the passion and frustration that we are seeing pour out into the streets this week into engagement and organization to grow their impact on state and local elections in 2017 and the 2018 midterms. Voter turnout is traditionally lower during off-year and midterm elections, and as the largest potential voting bloc, Millennials will have a crucial opportunity to shape the direction of our country in the coming years.
In 2017, New Jersey and Virginia will hold gubernatorial and state legislative elections. Major cities and counties across the country will elect new mayors, councilmembers, district attorneys and school board members. And in 2018, there will be 435 U.S. House races, 33 seats up in the Senate, 38 gubernatorial elections and state legislative races in 46 states.
Rock the Vote will continue to:
In 2018, we will have million more registered Millennial voters than ever before. In the 2020 presidential election, members of Gen Z will turn 18 and register to vote. Elected officials who ignore the voices and demands of the young people will do so at their own peril.
Thank you for following our journey this year. We continuing to provide you with the data, political analysis and personal stories of Millennials across the country fighting to speak truth to power and rock the vote.
About Rock the Vote:
Rock the Vote is the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in the country driving the youth vote to the polls. Since 1990, Rock the Vote has fused pop culture, music, art and technology to fulfill its mission of building long-term youth political power. During the past six Presidential elections, Rock the Vote ran the largest voter registration drives for young people and has partnered with more than 25,000 partners through its online, multi-lingual voter registration tool. Rock the Vote is dedicated to mobilizing the vote, protecting voting rights and advocating for an electoral process and voting system that works for the Millennial generation, America’s largest and most diverse population in history. To get Rock the Vote updates on upcoming events, election reminders and candidate, visit RocktheVote.com. Engage on social media, by following Rock the Vote on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @rockthevote.
Cell: (617) 777-0168