Young voters got to the polls in record numbers

by Kate Paulman

They rocked the vote. They decided to chose or lose. They madethem pay attention.

Yes, young people voted this year, and they voted in recordnumbers.

At least 20.9 million people under the age of 30 voted on Nov. 2- an increase of 4.6 million compared to 2000 – according to exitpolls conducted by Edison Media Research and MitofskyInternational.

“This is phenomenal,” said William Galston, director for theCenter for Information and Research on Civic Learning andEngagement, in a CIRCLE press release. “It represents the highestyouth turnout in more than a decade, 4 percentage points higherthan the previous peak year of 1992.”

Voters under the age of 30 made up 18.4 percent of the entireelectorate, up from 16.8 percent in 2000 according to informationreleased by the New Voters Project.

In swing states, young voters made up a slightly largerpercentage of the total voting bloc. In the ten battlegroundstates, 18- to 29-year-olds accounted for 19.4 percent of thetotal, up from 17 percent in 2000.

According to the CIRCLE press release, young voters chose Sens.John Kerry and John Edwards over President George Bush and VicePresident Dick Cheney, 54 percent to 44 percent. The onlydemographic that, overall, preferred the Democratic candidates wasthe 18- to 29-year-old age group.