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North Carolina’s Young Voters Can Shift The Political Landscape

Source: Wilmington StarNews

In the 2022 midterm election cycle, young voters turned out in historic numbers and helped Democrats stave off the Republican red wave. For 2024, Democrats are hoping youth voters can deliver once again, as elections across the country have highly competitive races. 

According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement’s Youth Electoral Significance Index, North Carolina is one of 10 states in which youth turnout could impact the presidential race the most.

Together, millennials and Gen Z voters also make up the most racially diverse generations of voters in the state, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.

“I think young voters in North Carolina specifically are casting one of the most powerful ballots in 2024,” Sloan Duvall, president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Young Democrats, told Wilmington Star-News. “And these candidates know that they are not going to win if they don’t have young people behind them in North Carolina.”

Just a few months away from the presidential election, North Carolina has proven to be a major state in the 2024 election cycle. With North Carolina being considered a purple state, all eyes are on the gubernatorial and presidential races.

“The issues that young people care about are on the ballot this November,” stated Josh Stein, the state’s current attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate. 

“Reproductive freedoms are on the ballot. Voting rights are on the ballot. Gun violence protection is on the ballot. Public education is on the ballot. A thriving economy is on the ballot, and I want to create a future where young people in North Carolina can succeed.”

A survey conducted by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement also found that youth voters are concerned about cost of living, jobs that pay a living wage, climate change and gun violence prevention. 

During North Carolina’s record turnout for the 2020 presidential election, out of the 75% of registered voters that showed up to the polls, both Gen Z and millennials were at 61%, while boomers were at 86% turnout, noted Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College.

“If you get these two generations, Millennials and Gen Z, to at least punch up to their political weight, there would be, I think, a very distinct, political shift in the state,” stated Bitzer.


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