Youth voter turnout on track to set records in key states

Peer-to-peer organizing reached hundreds of thousands in days leading up to Nov. 3

Press Release

-For Immediate Release-

For More Information:
Manny Rin, Student PIRGs New Voters Project Director, 925-234-1457, [email protected]
Josh Chetwynd, Communications Manager, 303-573-5558, [email protected]

Nationwide — The Student PIRGs New Voters Project, one of the country’s oldest and largest youth-led voter mobilization efforts, played a role in increased youth voter rates during the 2020 election. New data shows increases in the youth share of all votes cast in a number of key states. The preliminary surveys show that the youth vote share increased nationally from 16 percent in 2016 to 17 percent in 2020. 

The Student PIRGs New Voters Project ran massive get-out-the-vote volunteer actions in the final weeks leading up to the election. Nationwide, the group reached more than 1 million young voters in the final weeks. In total, 366,000 of these interactions were personal contacts in which young advocates walked new voters through their plans to cast their ballot before polls closed on Nov. 3. 

The effort helped contribute to significant increases in the youth share of all votes cast according to exit polls in the following states:

  • Arizona: Youth vote share increased from 12 percent in 2016 to 17 percent in 2020.
  • Georgia: Youth vote share increased from 15 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2020.
  • North Carolina: Youth vote share increased from 15 percent in 2016 to 16 percent in 2020.
  • Oregon: Youth vote share increased from 12 percent in 2016 to 18 percent in 2020.
  • Washington: Youth vote share increased from 15 percent in 2016 to 17 percent in 2020.

“My generation is the largest and most diverse group of voters in the country with our own values, ideas and issues that we care about,” said Milu Parillas, a student at Georgia State University. “These results show that we are willing to vote to create a future that works for us.”

Along with the states mentioned above, a number of preliminary reports in Florida show an increase in voter turnout rate in student-heavy precincts where the Student PIRGs New Voters Project ran the New Voters Project:

In Orange County, the New Voters Project organized a diverse group of University of Central Florida student groups to help students register to vote. The project partnered with UCF Greeks Vote, UCF College Democrats, UCF College Republicans and student government to make virtual club announcements and help reach hundreds of students to help them register to vote.

Students in Leon County from Florida State University organized a vote coalition effort, which included student government and the Center for Leadership and Social Change to reach every student on campus. Together, the coalition created a website (vote.fsu.edu), which was designed to be the one-stop shop for all the election information students need. 

In total, Florida PIRG reached more than 180,000 young voters across Florida in the weeks before Nov. 3. Nearly 3,000 student volunteers focused on personalized peer-to-peer methods in order to help new voters participate in the election.

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The Student PIRGs voter registration and turnout effort is part of its New Voters Project campaign, one of the largest nonpartisan youth voter mobilization efforts in the country. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project has run peer-to-peer student voter mobilization drives to turn out the youth vote on college campuses for more than 30 years. Its philosophy is that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. The New Voters Project does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, a political candidate or political party for elected office.
The Student PIRGs is a network of student run and student funded organizations that work with professional staff at colleges and universities to make sure our peers have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all of us. Our chapters on 35 campuses provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. For over 40 years we’ve helped students to get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change.