Democrats’ Early Voting Strategy Isn’t Working Due To One Key Demographic

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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As Democrats seek to ‘get out the vote’ with early voting and absentee voting by their supporters, young voters are not turning out in large enough numbers to make a difference, according to an analysis by Politico.

The analysis focused on key Senate races across the country considered ‘battlegrounds’ in the effort to control the chamber. Young voters under the age of 30, according to most major polls, overwhelmingly favor Democratic control of Congress, with 57% supporting the party versus 31% for Republicans, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics survey.

“Democrats are going to need younger voters to come out on Election Day in order for the numbers to hold,” said TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier, who runs a Democratic polling firm.

In North Carolina, where Republican Rep. Ted Budd is challenging Cheri Beasley, the Democratic former Chief Justice of North Carolina, early voting by voters under the age of 30 accounts for merely 5.4% of votes cast, compared to 16.5% at this time in 2020. Though Budd has been ahead in most major polls, Democrats consider the seat competitive given North Carolina’s small margins of victory for candidates; Donald Trump won the state by 1.34% in the 2020 presidential election.

In Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is running for the Senate against Republican physician Mehmet Oz, young voters have cast just 4.2% of early votes as of Oct. 24, slightly below the 7.9% share they had at an equivalent moment in 2020, per the U.S. News and World Report. Current polling shows Fetterman and Oz in a statistical tie, with Fetterman having an average lead of 0.3% and the latest poll, following the Oct. 25 debate between the candidates, showing Oz with a 3% lead, per RealClearPolitics.

As of Oct. 28, more than 17 million voters have cast early votes, either in-person or by mail-in absentee ballots, across the United States, according to the United States Elections Project. Among states that report the party registration of voters who have voted, 46.5% of early voters are Democrats while 32.5% are Republicans.

Moreover, women voters outnumber men by 10% among early voters, who are also overwhelmingly white (i.e., 64.8%), per the U.S. Elections Project and over the age of 65% (50.9%). Voters aged 18 to 25 make up just 3.5% of all votes.

Young voters, though widely considered a key voting bloc for the Democratic Party given their progressive bend, have historically turned out the least to vote during both early and regular voting cycles. In 2020, however, an estimated 50% of voters aged 18 to 29 turned out, per a Tufts University study, motivated in part by the prospect of voting against Trump, who had a 27% approval among the group. (RELATED: Mail Voting Law Is Illegal Under Delaware Constitution, Court Rules)

The mobility of young voters has also been a long-held concern, as they are more likely to live away from their state of voter registration during election cycles (e.g., during college terms). Some states do not recognize being a student living out-of-state for one’s studies as a valid excuse for voting absentee and require voters according to normal procedures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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