According to the CIRCLE Analysis of National Exit Polls, the youth vote went up from 18 percent of the total electorate in 2008 to 19 percent in Tuesday's election — something few polls predicted.
That high turnout can take some credit for the unprecedented legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, Maine and Maryland. Seeing that effect should empower young voters to keep voting and participating in the political process.
Twenty years ago, same-sex marriage initiatives and marijuana legalization would have never made it on the ballot.
If anything, this election showed those disenchanted with government that, with enough support, voters can see actual results. It showed that initiatives that have strong support from 18- to 24-year-olds can be approved.
Thanks to organizations on campus educating students and registering them to vote, MU was buzzing with talk of the election Tuesday and, more importantly, students actually heading to the polls. Events put on by the Missouri Students Association, the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, Tigers Against Partisan Politics and the Legion of Black Collegians’ did much to increase turnout.
Social media was another indicator of young turnout; new Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts were up every minute.
This election saw fewer youth vote campaigns, but the youth vote still grew. Our ideals are starting to be represented, and we don’t foresee young participation declining.
Normally, we would say keep this up, but it doesn’t seem like we need to.