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Michigan's youth voter turnout in November midterm was "at the top" at 37%

Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio
University of Michigan students waited an hour or longer to cast ballots in Michigan's 2022 midterm election.

Michigan had the highest turnout among young voters in the 2022 midterm election, among the 39 states for which data were available.

That's according to analysis by the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.

The group's report shows that 37% of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in November.

Deputy Director Abby Kiesa said it's a remarkable turnaround for the state for young voters.

"Just eight years ago, in the 2014 midterm election, Michigan had 15% turnout (in that demographic)," said Kiesa. "So over the past eight years, Michigan has gone from being middle of the pack with respect to midterm turnout to really quite clearly at the top."

Kiesa said there were a number of factors for the high turnout in November. She credited youth grassroots organizing on the issue of voting, as well as voter-friendly state policies, including same-day registration.

"And the fact that reproductive rights were on the ballot in Michigan, when young people were clearly mobilizing around the issue, that had to have been a factor," she said.

Kiesa said it's important for the health of a democracy to get people to participate in voting at an early age. She said research shows younger people who vote are likely to continue voting their entire lives.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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