National Director Mike Burns, issued the following statement on the new study released by Tufts University’s CIRCLE on youth voter participation in 2020:
“We are deeply excited to see that half of all young people between the ages of 18 and 29 turned out to vote in the 2020 presidential election. An overwhelming increase from just 39 percent in 2016, our nation’s young people continuously show their deep and growing commitments to political and civic engagement. However, despite their dedication to our nation’s democracy, students and other young people are facing bad-faith attacks to their voting rights, based on lies, in states across the country.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which expanded voting rights to youth over the age of 18. Instead of celebrating the progress made in youth voter turnout over the course of the last half century, an alarming number of lawmakers are taking steps backwards. Over 350 voter suppression bills have been introduced in state legislatures since January, having a particularly detrimental impact on students, who face unique barriers to voting due to frequent moves, postal access, academic and work schedules, and general newness and unfamiliarity with the registration and voting process.
“Politicians hold positions of public trust and should be doing all they can to welcome the newest members of our democracy into the voting process. It is the only way to sustain a healthy democracy. In order to truly dismantle these barriers and combat the growing voter suppression attempts facing students, Congress must pass the voting protections in For The People Act (H.R. 1 & S. 1). This bill provides critical support that helps students cast their ballots, including same-day voter registration, expanded early voting, online voter registration, postage-paid absentee ballots and numerous grant programs to support local government, election officials, campuses, and teachers with nonpartisan youth voter engagement. CIRCLE’s data on youth voter participation shows that states that have already implemented at least four provisions in the For the People Act had higher voter turnout among young people than states that did not. It’s clear that these policies are vital for further increasing voting access for students and other young people, and upholding the principles needed for a healthy, functioning American democracy.”