Fewer young voters have cast an early ballot in this year's midterm elections than did in the 2020 presidential election, Politico reported.
Democrats are counting on young voters to help keep their control over the House and Senate, but voters between the ages of 18 and 30 account for just a fraction of ballots cast ahead of Election Day. Only 5.4% of early ballots in North Carolina were cast by voters age 30 or younger, a decline of more than 10% when compared to 2020.
"Democrats are going to need younger voters to come out on Election Day in order for the numbers to hold," said Tom Bonier, who heads the Democrat data firm TargetSmart.
Bonier said Democrats have done well in recent special elections, such as in New York where Democrat Pat Ryan won last August, noting this "isn't going to be a typical midterm where the party in power is perhaps less engaged and they stay home, and the party out of power sweeps. Democrats are fired up."
Jessica Alter, founder of the Democrat firm Tech for Campaigns, noted one major reason for the high early voting numbers in the previous election was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was at its height at the time. Declining case numbers mean young voters are more likely to vote in-person rather than by mail.
Alter also noted Democrat organizations that previously focused on mail-in voting have moved on to other issues.
"We're not seeing the investment on the digital side, which is, we think, part of the reason that you're seeing the drop in early voting about 18- to 30-somethings," she said.
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