CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

August 2018 E-Update

August 30th, 2018
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Why (Some) Youth Don’t Vote – Differences by Race and Education

Our newest analysis uses 2016 election data to examine some of the reasons why young people who register to vote don’t end up casting a ballot—and the disparities in those barriers to voting by educational attainment and race or ethnicity.

Among our findings: 35% of young people with no college experience who were registered to vote said a lack of transportation was a major or minor reason why they didn’t vote, compared with just 19% for youth with college experience. Relatedly, young people without college experience who were registered were also more likely to cite the inconvenient hours or location of polling places (32% vs. 15%) and the lines at the polls being too long (27% vs. 19%) as factors that led them not to vote.

Young white, registered nonvoters were significantly more likely than youth of color to cite being “too busy” as a major or minor reason why they didn’t cast a ballot, 55% to 41%, respectively. Youth of color who were registered, meanwhile, were more likely to report that lacking proper ID influenced their absence from the polls (28% to 17%).

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CIRCLE Research Informs Lyft Initiative to Offer Rides to Polls

Our analysis of why young people don’t go to the polls found that transportation is a significant barrier for young voters among all demographics: 29% of young people cited it as a reason why they didn’t vote, with 15% calling it a “major” factor.

That data is a significant driver behind “The Ride to Vote,” a new initiative from Lyft that will offer free or discounted rides to people heading to vote on Election Day. According to Lyft:

“Across the country, we’ll give away 50% off promo codes with our partners that encourage voter turnout. For underserved communities, we’ll provide rides free of cost through nonpartisan, nonprofit partners.”

We commend Lyft for this important initiative which will not only help facilitate voting for thousands of people, but demonstrates the potential of research on youth political engagement to inform best practices across various fields and industries.

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CIRCLE Advises MTV on Voter Engagement Campaign

We’re excited to join forces with MTV, #VoteTogether, TurboVote, and the Alliance for Youth Organizing on an innovative digital campaign to encourage young voters in this November’s midterm elections: +1 The Vote.

The campaign seeks to capitalize on young people’s unique ability to inspire their peers and mobilize their networks. Research has shown that social pressure is one of the most effective mobilization strategies. +1 The Vote strives to fulfill that potential by making voting in this year’s midterms.

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New Report on Voter Engagement in Higher Ed

The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, which shares a home with us at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, recently released “Election Imperatives,” a report with 10 recommendations for colleges and universities to improve political learning and engagement on campus.

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CIRCLE in the News

– McClatchy: Who accounted for the high Florida primary turnout? This group may be part of the answer 

– WVIK: How You Can Join the Predicted Surge of Young Voters

– CNET: Lyft will offer discounted rides to voters during midterm elections

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