As the 2012 general election campaigns begin, it’s important to remember that the pool of young people eligible to vote will look different in 2012 than it did in 2008. A new group of potential voters who were not eligible to vote in 2008 (because of age) will be eligible to vote in 2012. These young people, who were between the ages of 14-17 in 2008 – who have since turned 18 (or 17 in some cases) – will now be eligible to vote in the 2012 elections. Youth who are 17 or above are eligible to vote in 22 states in primaries.
- There are approximately 46 million youth eligible to vote in 2012.*
- The number of young people who are newly eligible to vote since 2008 is about 16.8 million**
Both parties have a chance to mobilize this new group of voters. In an attempt to do so, they can first think about youth voter registration opportunities; we know from research that young people are more likely to vote if they are registered (84% of those registered to vote actually did vote in 2008; 87% for college students). For those young people who will be newly off to college in the fall, they may have to register at a new location and/or find information about the absentee ballot process.
*Calculation is based on CIRCLE analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) 2011 March Basic Supplement
** Calculation is based on CIRCLE analysis of 2010 Census Brief, http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf