Statement: New data shows youth voter turnout on track to surpass 2016

Virtual organizing effort from students help drive the increase amongst their peers

Press Release |

-For Immediate Release-

For More Information:
Manny Rin, Student PIRGs New Voters Project Director, 925-234-1457, [email protected]
Mark Morgenstein, Director of Media Relations, 678-427-1671, [email protected]

Nationwide — New data from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) estimates that the percentage of all eligible young voters, ages 18-29, who cast a ballot in 2016 may increase between 5 to 10 percentage points in 2020. CIRCLE estimates based on votes counted as of November 6, suggest that 49%-51% of voting-eligible young people, ages 18-29, cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election. Using the same methodology and data from the same point in 2016, CIRCLE had estimated that youth voter turnout would be 42-44%. Preliminary projected youth voter turnout estimates are based on projected total ballots cast.

CIRCLE is also projecting that once all votes are counted, youth turnout may rise to a historic 53%-56%. CIRCLE’s previous 2016 projection based on the same data was that youth voter turnout that year would be 45%-48%. According to CIRCLE if youth voter turnout reaches a level around 55%, that would put voter turnout for ages 18-29 on par with its highest level ever in 1972, the year after the voting age was lowered to 18.

The Student PIRGs New Voters Project, one of the country’s oldest and largest youth-led voter mobilization efforts, ran registration and get-out-the-vote volunteer actions on more than 100 college campuses across 17 states this fall. More than 3,000 student volunteers focused on peer-to-peer outreach to help register, educate and mobilize their fellow students to vote despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the weeks leading up to the polls closing on November 3rd, the group educated more than 1 million young voters across the country. In total, the group had more than 390,000 interactions where young advocates helped new voters make plans to cast their ballot.

Manny Rin, the National New Voters Project Director, released the following statement:

“This increase in youth turnout is indicative of the rising energy amongst young people to shape the future of their country. The work done by thousands of New Voters Project student leaders harnessed this energy to virtually organize their campus communities in creative ways to make sure their peers turned out to vote this election.”