Let’s take a look back at the 2022 midterms, where young people played a vital role in securing progressive wins across the country. In addition to seeing how the Alliance Network succeeded in 2022 with our Annual Report, new research from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) gives us further insight into the impact of Alliance Network orgs in getting out the youth vote for the midterm elections.
We’ll dive into some highlights, but you can read the full report from CIRCLE, including the impact of Election laws in 2022 here.
Highlights from CIRCLE’s 2022 Youth Voting State Level Research
Michigan was home to the highest youth voter turnout in 2022 with 36.5%. That turnout rate is more than 13% higher than the national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE. Additionally, Michigan was one of only four states that had a higher youth turnout in 2022 than in 2018, which nationally had the highest youth turnout of any midterm in the past three decades.
“With core issues such as voter suppression, reproductive rights, gun reform, and climate change on the ballot, young people are disproportionately impacted by the political choices made today. Last fall, we had an election that had the potential to set us back years, but young Black and Brown Detroiters showed up and turned Michigan into one of the most progressive states in our country.”Branden Snyder, Executive Director of Detroit Action
This is all thanks to the work by organizers like those at Detroit Action, who remained heavily involved throughout 2022 by mobilizing young people into victory on two ballot measure wins. Nine of their 11 endorsed candidates also saw victories in the elections last fall.
Following the highest turnout of any state in 2018, Minnesota organizers’ work to continuously engage voters, and this time young people, paid off in the 2022 midterms. Minnesota had the third-highest youth voter turnout rate of any state in the 2022 midterm elections at 35.5%. That turnout rate is more than 12 percentage points higher than the national youth voter turnout estimated by CIRCLE.
In 2022, Minnesota Youth Collective (MNYC) celebrated its fifth anniversary and played a big part in these efforts. MNYC youth organizers distributed over 110,000 voter guides, knocked on doors for eight months before election day, and provided golf cart rides to the polls for University of Minnesota Twin Cities students.
“In 2022, the future of our state was hanging in the balance, and it’s because of young voters that we saw positive election results.”Rahhel Haile, Executive Director of MNYC
Oregon also had record youth voter turnout with 35.5%, making it the fourth-highest youth voter turnout in 2022. Youth organizers at Next Up, helped make Oregon the most accessible state to vote. With over 93% of Oregon’s population registered to vote, Next Up sent 585,672 texts, made 229,249 calls, and knocked on over 10,000 doors.
“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.”Elona Wilson, Executive Director of Next Up
Colorado’s youth voter turnout for 2022 was 33%, keeping the state amongst the top-5 highest youth voter turnout states after a 44% turnout in 2018. New Era Colorado has a 16-year track record of turning out young people across the state and has successfully passed pro-voter policies like same-day registration and mandated polling places on college campuses. In 2022, New Era made 217,925 phone calls, sent 15,252 text messages, and personally delivered 2,005 young voters into Voter Service Centers through their GOTV efforts.
“One of every five voters in Colorado was under 35, and crucial to maintaining a trifecta of decision-makers who committed to the Youth Agenda in key offices. But we know that campaign promises only go so far and our work is just beginning to demand the future that young people dream of.”Nicole Hensel, Executive Director of New Era Colorado
In the end, 60% of New Era’s membership turned out to vote, doubling the national youth voter turnout rate.
Arizona has had one of the most dramatic increases in youth voting in the past three midterm cycles, and the second-smallest decrease in participation from 2018 to 2022. With a 25% youth voter turnout rate, Arizona came in higher than the national youth turnout estimate. Young voters played a critical role in several Democratic victories in Arizona’s U.S. Senate Race and Governor’s race.
“In partnership with many organizations, Poder has focused on expanding the electorate and increasing our power to govern, but our work is not about turning the state blue. It is about fighting for our right to live joyful and long lives, and young people have always been at the forefront of that fight and will continue to build our power as we head into 2024.”Viridiana Hernandez, Director of Poder in Action
Poder in Action knocked on 51,000 doors, distributed over 50,000 voter guides, and had over 1.2 million digital impressions for the 2022 election cycle. Poder was also successful in undoing a long history of anti-immigrant attacks by passing Proposition 308 to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and get state scholarships.
Texas has had one of the most dramatic increases in youth voting in the past three midterm cycles. 22% of young people in Texas turned out to vote in the 2022 midterms.
In 2022, MOVE Texas returned to in-person work after the Covid-19 pandemic and registered over 10,000 young voters for the 2022 election cycle. MOVE Texas staff, canvassers, campus organizers, chapter members, and volunteers reached out to young people who pledged to vote or join the movement and together made: 1,978 door knocks, sent 338,017 text messages, made 235,184 phone calls, and sent 77,000 climate mailers to inform young voters about the election. Of the voters MOVE Texas turned out to vote, 1/3 were first-time voters, and over 60% were under 30.
“We faced incredible challenges during the 2022 midterm election cycle because the state passed anti-voting legislation the previous year that made it much more difficult for young people and first-time voters to participate in our elections. But young people showed up in defiance, despite them waiting hours in line, and voted for the freedom to decide when and if they want to start a family, the freedom to vote and determine their own futures, and the freedom to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and leave behind a livable planet.“Claudia Yoli Ferla, Executive Director of MOVE Texas
We are still riding the highs of the successes from last year’s elections, energized by the incredible efforts of youth organizers to engage young people and provide for their communities in distinct and meaningful ways. In 2022, young voters showed the nation exactly what we’re made of. When young people have support and resources, our democracy wins.