A significant number of young people are registering to vote in Florida, and they could tilt this year’s midterm elections in the nation’s largest swing state, according to a new analysis of voter registration patterns.
The analysis by TargetSmart, a data firm that works on behalf of Democrats, shows that the share of newly registered Florida voters between the ages of 18-29 increased by eight percentage points in the two and a half months after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Voters between the ages of 18-29 made up 26.23 percent of all new voter registrations in Florida in the two and a half months before Feb. 14, 2018. In the two and a half months after the shooting, young voters made up 34.22 percent of all new voter registrations in Florida.
The eight percentage point gain also shows that young voters are now a bigger share of all new voters. The percentage of new voter registrations from all other age groups in Florida decreased to compensate for the eight-point jump among 18- 29-year-olds.
The total number of young people registering to vote also went up. From Dec. 1, 2017, to Feb. 14, 2018, 27,789 18- 29-year-olds registered in Florida, and between Feb. 14 and April 30, 39,218 young people registered, according to TargetSmart. The 11,429 more voters that registered represent a 41 percent increase.
The total number of new voters from ages 30 to 49 increased slightly after the shooting, while the total number of new voters from ages 49 and up decreased by 4,240 votes in the three months after the shooting.
“A new generation of political leaders emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy,” TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier said in a statement. “We witnessed their ability to organize in Florida and across the country as massive crowds took to the streets for the March for Our Lives, and now we’re seeing a quantifiable impact from that organizing. It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections.”
The increase in young-voter registration among Florida voters as a percentage of the entire electorate ranks seventh among the 40 states where voter registration has been tracked since February, trailing Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, Indiana and Arizona.
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