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Charlotte Talks Politics: Will Young Voters Get Off The Sidelines In 2020?

Flickr / KOMUnews

Monday, Feb. 24, 2020

Young voters could be a force to reckon with in elections if they just showed up. After a surge in young votes in the 2018 midterms, are they going to turn out for the presidential race?

Voters under the age of 30 are expected to make up around a third of the electorate this year. But for decades, young voters have largely been missing on Election Day.

Fifty-four percent of these voters sat out the 2016 election. That said, young voters were the only group to see an increased turnout from the 2012 presidential election, and 36% of young voters turned out for the 2018 midterm - a double-digit jump from the previous midterm.

Duke University political scientist Sunshine Hillygus says their lagging turnout isn't for lack of interest in politics. If anything, young people have become more civic-minded.

So what are the obstacles to increasing young voter turnout? What could coax more of them into showing up at the polls?


Dr. Sunshine Hillygus, Duke University, professor of political science; co-author of “Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action”

JD Mazuera, senior class president at Queens University of Charlotte, former president of Queens’ College Democrats

John Waugh, senior at UNC Charlotte, chairman of UNCC’s College Republicans

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A veteran of Charlotte radio news, Chris joined the "Charlotte Talks" staff in January 2016, but has been listening to WFAE since discovering the station as a high schooler.