“Future Voters and Gaps in Our Democracy”

Among the findings in this Civics Center report on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 26th Amendment:

We put enormous effort into creating it, and it has new research that I think your readers will find meaningful.  Here are some key findings:

  • 4 million people turn 18 every year in the US, and the vast majority of them are eligible to register to vote before they graduate high school, but there is little infrastructure in place to actually help them.
  • Low registration rates drive low turnout. Among LA County 18-year-olds who were registered to vote in time for the 2020 general election, turnout was 75%. When young people are registered they turn out. The biggest obstacle to voter registration for youth is not apathy, it’s voter registration. 
  • Only 10% of 16-and 17-year olds in Los Angeles County are preregistered to vote.  
  • Most high schools in LA County are doing little or nothing to implement California laws that are designed to promote high school voter registration
  • School districts reporting more robust voter registration activities generally have higher registration rates than other districts.
  • Poverty is less of a factor in low youth turnout in Los Angeles County than lack of voter registration.

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