Preliminary results: Young voters showed up

Blog Post

While we’re still waiting for all of the election results to come in, including mail-in ballots, we can be sure of one thing: young people showed up! Preliminary results 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 2022 will reach 27%, the second-highest national voter youth turnout rate for a midterm election in nearly 30 years!

And in the places where the nonpartisan Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project organized, students made the difference.

In just one example, at Florida State University, our New Voters Project team of students spent Election Day helping hundreds of students make sure their vote was counted. During the day, students generated visibility around the election by displaying huge props like the inflatable Vote Goat, and fanned out around campus to talk to students and give out stickers and tote bags. The on-campus voting location had a line out the door, and our team talked to hundreds of students in line for more than six hours to ensure they had the right form of voter ID, and that they were at the correct polling location.

The result of this concentrated outreach and engagement with the campus community? The on-campus polling location reported a 43% turnout rate.

Or take Michigan State University. PIRG student leaders Joel and Evan, alongside PIRG organizer Felix, led a team of volunteers throughout the day who made sure students on campus knew where to go to cast their ballot and provided donuts and pizza to the students waiting in line to vote. They also helped students take advantage of same-day registration, enabling students who had not yet registered to register and vote at the on-campus polling location.

The result? On-campus polling locations reported a 47% preliminary turnout rate.

That local, on-the-ground organizing took place at college campuses across the country this fall, thanks in part to the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project. More than 860 student volunteers, interns, and fellows worked on more than 150 campuses across the country (including public and private four-year schools and 43 community colleges) to make sure the voices of young people were heard in this election. Our team made 200,000 GOTV contacts to help students make a plan to vote (130,000 of which were at community colleges) and organized hundreds of campaign actions to engage their peers, through in-person events, class announcements, phone calls, text messages, and on social media.

On Election Day, we asked a few students to share why they voted. Watch the video to hear what they had to say.

When we have more numbers available, we’ll update you with more turnout data and an overview of our work this fall. Stay tuned! And if you have any thoughts on our program or want to learn more, please reach out.

Manny Rin
Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project

About The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project
PIRG New Voters Project, Inc. is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 4945(f) status. We work on 100 campuses across the country to activate the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, so we work to make sure every student has the opportunity to have their voice heard in our elections by building a culture of civic engagement on college campuses. We engage students, faculty, and administrators to build lasting systems of voter engagement for the long term.

Since 1984, our field-based, non-partisan effort helped to register over 2 million young people and make over 3 million Get out the Vote contacts reminding young people where, when, and how to vote. We have tested new field models to ensure we are running the most effective civic engagement program possible. One study of our program showed that 82% of the young people we helped to register leading up to the 2020 election turned out to vote, while 75% of the young people contacted through our peer-to-peer GOTV program turned out to vote. This compares to 68.5% of a representative sample of college students overall who were registered and voted in 2016.
About The Student PIRGs
Students have the right and the responsibility to shape the future we will inherit. Our program spans over 100 campuses in 22 states of which 35 campuses have self-funding programs, that provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For almost 50 years we’ve helped our campus communities get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change. Every year, over 4,000 students gain hands-on experience in organizing and activism by volunteering with us to generate 150,000 grassroots actions.