By Guest Blogger Sasha Jones
Swing states are experiencing a greater surge in youth voter registration compared to previous years following the wave of student activism that was unleashed after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. earlier this year, according to a new analysis of voter-registration data.
Using February 14, 2018, the day of the shooting, as a reference point, the analysis by TargetSmart, a data, technology, and consulting firm, shows that the share of registrants that are 18-to-29-year-olds has increased by 2.16 percent nationwide. Before Parkland, 35.98 percent of new registrants were under the age of 30. This percentage rose to 38.14 afterwards.
The increases have been larger in states holding critical elections that may impact the political composition of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. These include Pennsylvania, with an increase of over 16 percentage points; Arizona and Florida, with 8 points each; Indiana, with 9 points; and Virginia and New York, with 10 points each. The shootings also inspired some teachers to step up their civics lessons for students.
The study only accounts for 39 states with available data. More than a dozen states still have months until voter-registration deadlines.
The bump in voter registration comes after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and March For Our Lives leaders kicked off student walkouts nationwide and launched the “Road to Change” bus tour to encourage voter registration and political engagement among students.
A different poll, by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, found that in the wake of Parkland, 64 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds favor stricter gun-control laws, regardless of their plans to vote in the upcoming midterms—a 15 percent increase compared to the same survey taken in 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.