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Young Voter Registrations Up 41 Percent After Parkland

Jul 24, 2018

More young people in Florida are registering to vote ahead of the midterm elections,  motivated by the February school shooting in Parkland.

An analysis by the data analytics firm TargetSmart finds the registration rate for Floridians 18-29 has increased by 41 percent, from roughly 28,000 new voters in the three months prior to the shooting to about 39,000 in the three months after. That has brought the youth share of new voters up by 8 percent compared to other age groups.

TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier, whose firm works mostly with Democrats, said the numbers alone can't point to a specific cause, but the political messaging after the Parkland shooting has really been targeted at younger people.

"I feel it is safe to say that the tragedy in Parkland and the activism since has contributed significantly to the surges," Bonier said.

In addition to the March For Our Lives events held throughout the world, student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School also launched a "Road to Change Tour" this summer. They have held rallies, voter registration drives and town halls throughout the state and the nation.

An increase of young voters could shift the political tide toward more liberal candidates, particularly in swing states like Florida. Bonier highlighted a recent survey by Harvard University's Institute of Politics that found a majority of young people support "common sense gun reforms."

But, Bonier said, that would require young people to defy history and actually show up to vote.

"A lot of folks, especially older folks and politicians, are skeptical, because young people tend not to vote at very high rates and especially in lower turnout midterm elections," he said.