By Vianca Grullon
BROCKPORT, N.Y- There have been record numbers of early voting turnouts. More than 7 million youth voters have cast their ballots. Generation Z and Millennial voters have turned out in large numbers.
Many states have increased safety measures with extended face to face and mail-in voting forms due to COVID-19. Now more than ever Americans have relied on mail-in ballots to cast their votes.
Regardless of Covid-19, early voting has surpassed records. The youth population, who might not have been qualified to cast a ballot in the last political race, have made their voices heard since 2016. That empowerment could have led to a spike in youth voter turnout.
Michael Saladeen, a 20-year-old junior at The College at Brockport, has seen a increased voting push on social media.
“I think more young people are voting especially because of social media and its influence.” Saladeen said “I get little pop-ups asking if I registered to vote this year, especially on Facebook. With social media and a heightened youth voting movement, there is a strong influence to vote.”
According to a biannual survey done by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, this election is projected to have the highest youth turnout in a dozen years with 63 percent saying they will vote, opposed to 47 percent in 2016.
“Voting has changed a lot since 2016, pretty much all groups of people are going to want to go to the polls and vote because they either feel they are for the president or they do not like what the president is doing or how he’s handling the country.” Saladeen said.
More youth voters seem to support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. In a survey done by Axios and SurveyMonkey, it shows that voters 18-34 are supporting Biden in 45-50 states.
Sharon Jaramilo, 17, and freshman at The College at Brockport believes voting has been pushed on the youth this year more than ever.
“Voting is especially encouraged now because in the past, the “younger generations” have not been as involved in politics. Also, the candidates this year are quite different and it’s created a larger divide amongst people.” Jaramilo said. “More people are voting this year because a lot of celebrities have been promoting voting which is inspiring for younger generations because in the past that never happened. This kind of incentive for voting has been helpful and pushed younger voters to go out and vote.”
Dailan Concepcion, a 17-year-old senior at Hudson Highschool of Learning Technologies in New York City is not old enough to vote this year but encourages people of age to vote.
“When a young person says ‘my vote doesn’t matter’, it reminds me that not many people are aware of politics and the presidential election. Every vote counts and it is the reason we can either make this country a harder or easier suitable place to live.”
2020 has been a record-breaking year for early voting among the youth. The youth are a crucial force in the 2020 election based on record turnout numbers.