Three University of Michigan students, Kate Westa, Evon Yao, and Brett Zaslavsky (L to R) talk politics. They're all members of WeListen, an organization that says they're working to "bridge the American political divide."

Three University of Michigan students, Kate Westa, Evon Yao, and Brett Zaslavsky (L to R) talk politics. They're all members of WeListen, an organization that says they're working to "bridge the American political divide."

Young Americans showed up for the 2018 elections, voting “in higher numbers than any other midterm elections in the past 25 years,” according to one analysis.

There was also a dramatic increase in early voting by younger people.

As Reid Wilson wrote in The Hill, ahead of the midterms:

Hundreds of thousands of new voters are showing up to cast their ballots early in the weeks before the midterm elections, fueling Democratic hopes that a younger electorate may help them over the finish line in key states.

The number of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 who have cast ballots early has surpassed turnout levels from the last midterm election in just about every state, according to several sources tracking early vote totals.

…In Texas, 332,000 voters under the age of 30 have cast ballots already, up nearly fivefold from the 2014 midterms. In Nevada, the 25,000 young voters who have cast a ballot is also five times higher than in the same period four years ago.

Is it the fraught nature of our current politics that’s driving engagement? Are young people, inspired by the survivors of the Parkland shooting, fed up with being ignored on issues that matter to them?

Maybe we can credit Cardi B?

As a part of our Across America project, we’re speaking with young people from around the country about why they’re getting involved.

This show was produced by our Across America team, James Morrison and Amanda Williams.

1A Across America is funded through a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 that is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.

Guests

  • Kate Westa Junior, University of Michigan; WeListen Co-President; @kfwesta
  • Justin Smith Junior, Wenonah High School in Birmingham, Alabama; Future Voter @Jsmtjus01
  • Matthew Post Freshman, Yale University; National field strategist for March for Our Lives; @mattlpost

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