One standout trend in early voting surge could be the deciding factor, trackers say

Democrats are hoping the surge of new, young voters is going to help them over the finish line on Election Day.

Thousands of new voters have been reportedly voting early in nearly every state leading up to midterm elections, surpassing the number voters between the ages of 18 and 29 who showed up in the last midterm election, The Hill reported.

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“Voters under the age of 30, relative to their ’14 turnout, are outperforming every other group,” Tom Bonier, a Democratic strategist tracking early vote totals, said.

“It’s not just like a presidential year surge where you’re getting younger voters who only vote in presidentials coming out in a midterm,” he explained. “A lot of these young people are voting in their first election period.”

According to The Hill:

In some states, especially those with hot races, the increase in turnout is staggering. In Texas, 332,000 voters under the age of 30 have cast ballots already, up nearly five fold from the 2014 midterms. In Nevada, the 25,000 young voters who have cast a ballot is also five times higher than in the same period four years ago.

Georgia’s young voter turnout is four times higher than it was in 2014. In Arizona, three times as many younger voters are turning up.

 

Bonier’s firm, TargetSmart, found that more than three quarters of a million voters have cast ballots for the first time with 213,000 first-time voters just coming from Texas.

But while the numbers may appear impressive, they may not be telling the whole story.

Younger voters are still only making up a small percentage of the total electorate, as the large numbers this year are easy to set as a record because of the contrast to 2014 where so few showed up.

“The youth vote is higher than 2014 so far, but so few young people have voted at this point it is not hard to double the numbers,” Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist tracking early voting totals, said. “Young people tend to vote in larger numbers during the week prior to the election, and we’re seeing some evidence that young people are indeed starting to turn out.”

More from The Hill:

Consider Georgia, where 114,866 voters between the ages of 18 and 29 had already cast a ballot. That represents nearly 21 percent of all 18-29 year olds who are registered to vote in the state, a 369 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

But those voters represent just 8 percent of the overall electorate that has voted so far. Seniors, those over the age of 65, represent more than a third of the electorate; among the oldest voters, 473,000 have showed up to vote already, a 78 percent increase over 2014 levels.

 

Yet only four in ten voters between 18 and 29 said they would vote this year, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll. That survey also found that 66 percent of those younger voters favor Democrats compared to 32 percent who support a Republican majority.

The age group is being targeted by the Hollywood left in hopes of energizing the turnout for Tuesday.

A two-hour, live-streamed event scheduled for Monday will feature celebrities in a “Telethon for America.” But instead of drumming up funds, this telethon is aimed at firing up young voters, getting them to pledge to vote when they call in to a celebrity phone bank, NBC News reported.

“This election might be the most consequential of our lifetime,” actor Leonardo DiCaprio said in a video message with Brad Pitt.

Though the event’s organizers claim the telethon is a nonpartisan effort, the stars seem to be aligning on the left with Jane Fonda, Charlize Theron, Judd Apatow and others reportedly slated to be participating.

Frieda Powers

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