Young Voters Doubled, Tripled and Quadrupled Turnout Last Night

Young people flooded the polls yesterday to pick the next President of the United States. In more than 20 states across the nation, young voters turned out in record-breaking numbers at primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday. Young voters have proven they are the driving force behind the 2008 Presidential election and are setting the stage for November 2008 to be the historic third election in a row with increased young voter turnout.

According to CNN’s exit polls and the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), in nearly every state holding their primary or caucus last night, youth voter turnout increased significantly- doubling, tripling and even quadrupling turnout from 2000 & 2004!

Young voters in Tennessee quadrupled their turnout last night, up from 35,000 in 2000 to nearly 140,000 young people between the ages of 18-29 casting a vote in last night’s primary. In Georgia young voters tripled their turnout this year with more than 280,000 individuals casting a ballot last night compared to approximately 92,000 ballots cast in 2000. And in California, more than 850,000 voters under 30 cast ballots, far surpassing 2000 and 2004 levels. California, Tennessee and Georgia were not alone. If fact, young voter turnout increased in every state where comparisons where available from the last two election cycles. (A detailed fact sheet and additional statistics are available upon request.)*

In addition, youth turnout was the winning margin of victory in several states. For example, on the Democratic side, Barack Obama won the state of Missouri by just 10,000 votes, propelled to victory by 75,000 young people casting ballots in his favor. On the Republican side, 45,000 young people voted for Mike Huckabee, far surpassing his 23,000 vote margin of victory. (Additional examples available upon request.)

“The entire world watched as one of the most electrifying moments in U.S. election history unfolded on Tuesday. Young people are tired of being characterized as apathetic and uninterested in politics. They are casting ballots like never before, volunteering on campaigns, organizing at their schools, and have shown, since the first contest in January, they will pick the next President of the United States,” said Heather Smith, Executive Director, Rock the Vote.

Not only are young people fed up and fighting back at the polls but they are also being targeted by campaigns. It’s clear candidates are reaching out to young people and asking for their vote, which is critical for engaging and mobilizing any age group in the political process. It’s also clear candidates are targeting young people because they know they need young voters to win.

The power of the youth vote is extraordinary; since 2004 young people have been voting in growing numbers. More than 350,000 young people have downloaded voter registration forms through Rock the Vote’s website this election cycle, and more than 20,000 young people have pledged to vote by signing Rock the Vote’s “Pledge to Pick the Prez.” Young voters are in a position to shape the political landscape for decades to come.

This year, Rock the Vote will run the largest registration drive in history by registering two million young people in this election. Through our online voter registration tool, mobile marketing, a series of youth forums, get-out-the-vote events, and a summer concert tour we are reaching out, building on the energy and activism of young adults and empowering them to make their voices heard.

For more on Rock the Vote and young voters’ turnout to the primaries, see and also check out our blog.

* The primary comparisons are to the 2000 election because in that year there were both Democratic and Republican competitive primaries. However, 2004 comparisons are also available upon request for the Democratic turnout.


Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country. Rock the Vote uses music, popular culture and new technologies to engage and incite young people to register and vote in every election. And we give young people the tools to identify, learn about, and take action on the issues that affect their lives, and leverage their power in the political process. Rock the Vote is creative, effective, and controlled by nobody’s agenda but our own – we tell it like it is and pride ourselves on being a trusted source for information on politics. We empower the 45 million young people in America who want to step up, claim their voice in the political process, and change the way politics is done.