CONTACT: Carmel Pryor | Alliance for Youth Action | email@example.com
Successful efforts by youth-led organizations led to high electoral participation in the state, which has a strong history of youth voting.
According to new data released by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, Oregon had the fourth highest youth voter turnout rate of any state in the 2022 midterm elections: 35.5%. That turnout rate is more than 12 percentage points higher than the national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE: 23%.
Oregon also had the fourth-highest turnout of any state in the country in 2018 (39%), an election cycle which nationally had the highest youth turnout of any midterm in the past three decades. In 2022, Oregon was also one of only four states with a youth turnout rate above 35%.
The estimates from CIRCLE, the preeminent national research center on youth voting, are based on voter file data aggregated by Catalist. The national turnout estimate is based on data from 39 states for which age-specific data is available.
“Oregon consistently ranks highly in youth voter turnout, thanks in large part to strong policies like pre-registration, automatic voter registration, and automatically mailing a ballot to all registered voters,” said Abby Kiesa, deputy director of CIRCLE. “In both the 2020 and 2022 elections, states that mail ballots to all potential voters have had above-average youth turnout.”
Organizations on the ground in Oregon also did critical work to engage youth in the state.
Over the years, Next Up Action Fund has helped shape Oregon into the #1 easiest state to vote in, brought the state’s voter registration rate to over 93%, and expanded who is eligible to register. In 2022, Next Up showed up by endorsing values-aligned candidates and ballot measures, sending out 585,672 texts, making 229,249 calls, and knocking over 10,000 doors to ensure their communities knew what was on the ballot.
“We invest into the well-being and dreams of the young people we work with every day, year round,” said Elona Wilson, Executive Director of Next Up Action Fund. “Last fall, we had the chance to invest in our communities through declaring healthcare as a human right, removing slavery from our constitution, and reshaping our local government to be more equitable and inclusive. Our efforts contributed to an astounding 35.5% turnout rate among young people – a significant indicator of the importance of investing in electoral infrastructure, an organizing strategy that ties issues and candidates to material impacts, and supporting robust and inclusive civic engagement of young people.”