Georgia voter numbers are indeed showing a youth surge

Georgia’s automatic voter registration system registered people when they came to get or renew a driver’s license. As a result, voter registration rose sharply. According to the 2014 census, there were around 4.3 million registered voters in Georgia. In 2018 it was 4.8 million. By 2022, it was 7.9 million, according to Georgia’s Secretary of State.

In 2014, only 42 percent of those eligible to vote between the ages of 18 and 24 out of a population of 895,000 were registered to vote, according to the census. And only 201,000 in that group actually voted — 22 percent of those eligible. But if you calculate the rate by the number of registered voters rather than those eligible to vote, the figure is more impressive: 53 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds who were registered to vote went out and voted.

The next midterm election in 2018 came with Donald Trump in the presidency and a youth movement against gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shootings, prompting an undeniable surge in voter turnout. The total number of voters climbed from 2.9 million to 4.08 million.

The number of potential eligible voters aged 18-24 in Georgia rose slightly from 895,000 to 1.037 million, but the registered number rose from 367,000 to 516,000 as two years of automatic voter registration significantly increased lists. The number of registered voters aged 25 to 34 rose from 622,000 to 746,000.

If we throw away voter registration – since the introduction of automatic registration makes reliable comparison impossible for years to come – and just focus on the rate of eligible voters that turned out, the numbers are stark. In 2014, just 28 percent of 18-34 year olds voted for a total of 535,000. In 2018, 42 percent of young people eligible to vote – up 50 percent from 2014 – voted for a total of 935,000 people.

So where does 2022 fall?

For a direct comparison, we cannot use census data, which will not be available for some time. Census data is also not as accurate as data pulled directly from the voter database, like the type of research being conducted by Democratic consulting firm TargetSmart.

According to the company’s research, 203,874 people under the age of 30 cast their ballots in Georgia in 2014, which is 7.9 percent of the total turnout. In 2018, that number skyrocketed to 478,240, or 12.1 percent, an unprecedented 50 percent jump from the 2014 midpoint, according to census results.

TargetSmart’s full 2022 numbers aren’t public yet, but CEO Tom Bonier said the final Georgia youth poll will capture 10.9 percent of voters, a significant increase from 2014 but less than 2018 (and slightly closer to 2018 than 2014). The increase is, of course, all the more impressive that voter turnout has also increased massively overall. At 7.9 percent of 2.6 million, the total number of young voters is significantly smaller than 10.9 percent of 4.1 million.

In fact, given these numbers, the total number of young voters voting in 2022 will be the same more than double the number of young people who voted in 2014. The total population of Georgia was 7.3 million in 2014; now it’s over 10 million. However, the growth rate among young voters clearly exceeded population growth.

Given the TargetSmart numbers, Shor agreed that the Automated Voter Registration Act could make it harder to compare to 2014. “My numbers show proportions of registered voters,” it said in a direct message. “Comparisons with 2014 are difficult because Georgia implemented pseudo-AVR after 2016.”

“It’s possible that if you take the denominator of the adult eligible population, the 2014 comparison looks better,” he continued. “Although that’s difficult because we don’t *really* know the number of young adults over time. But voter turnout was definitely down quite a bit from 2018. In general, this must be related to the fact that turnout for Biden voters was significantly lower than for Trump voters.”

The resilience of young voter turnout is doubly impressive given the scarce resources dedicated to it in 2022. $33 million spent reach young people. He largely abandoned NextGen after Steyer’s failed presidential bid in 2018, another example of a billionaire growing bored with his progressive project. The group has registered 258,000 voters in 2018 and only 78,000 in 2022. You do not list Georgia as the state where they worked in 2022.

More broadly, the universe of organizations built up over the years to register young voters has withered. The United States Student Association, the oldest of these, has practically disappeared. Once a powerhouse, went through a period of turmoil, splitting into two rival organizations and no longer has the clout it once had. The Center for American Progress closed its youth voting division and so on. That young people were still driving the Democrats to victory speaks to the potential of a coalition that serves their interests.