Early voting for young people has almost doubled since 2016 election

Posted at 5:51 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 18:24:34-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Jake Hoffman is the president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

“I understand how important it is that we put good people in place. Smart people in place. That’s really what motivated me to get involved," said Hoffman.

Michael Womack is a leader with the Hillsborough County Young Democrats.

“We are not complacent anymore. Our futures are on the line and the stakes are just too high to sit this one out," said Womack.

Both say they are seeing young people inspired and involved, and the numbers seem to back that up.

Early voting among people 18 to 29 is up in several states, including those key to winning the presidency.

Here in Florida, early voting for young people has almost doubled from 2016.

“We are becoming a generation of activists and leaders inspired by March for Our Lives and Black Lives Matter and I think that electing Joe Biden is just the first step of the change that we are striving for," said Womack.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm. Specifically on the Trump side, on the Republican side of the ballot. We have young people that are just as worried about the country as anyone else," said Hoffman.

Political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus says the youth activism really gained momentum after the Parkland shootings.

“The old age was if you are young, yes you register, but you don’t vote. I think we can toss that one right out of the window," she said.

MacManus says candidates have targeted young voters from day one.

“Whether it’s businesses, sports teams, celebrities, music stars, friends, all encouraging them to register to vote," she said.

Generation Z and millennials make up 31% of Florida’s registered voters and many of them are pushing hard for their candidates.

“I’ve seen people who have never paid attention before speaking out and getting engaged. And they are not voting for more late-night Twitter rants or tax breaks for millionaires," said Womack.

“A lot of people that are not being counted on by the media, these are people in the hospitality industry. The Democrats are underestimating how much of a motivation that is and how much they want to get back to work. And you have a candidate in Joe Biden who is saying 'I’m going to shut down the country again.' And Florida does not want to hear that," said Hoffman.

Most experts agree the majority of the younger voters are going for Biden, but in Florida, about 1/3 are not registered with either party.