There is no doubt that 2018 was the year that young people rocked the vote. On Election Day, we broke records with 31% of young voters showing up to the polls, and in some states, turning out in greater numbers than the general electorate. Yet in a year of unprecedented youth turnout across the country - in both red and blue states - New York came squarely in second to last place. In the 2018 midterms, only 16.4% of young voters cast a ballot in the Empire State, in large part due to statutory barriers to participation and voter education.
With 2020 around the corner, the stakes have never been higher for New York to make it simpler, not harder, for young voters to make their voices heard. That is why Generation Vote, in partnership with Let NY Vote, hosted the first statewide convening centered on voting rights and expanding youth civic engagement for young people in New York. On November 8th and 9th, 2019, we hosted the GenVote Youth Voting Rights and Engagement Summit at the University at Albany - SUNY.
The discussion that resulted was lively and wide-ranging. Participants shared their experiences as first-time voters, tackled challenges facing young voters in the political process, and proposed various reforms to increase New York’s low youth voter turnout. By the end of the Summit, participants voted on the first “New York Youth Voting Rights and Engagement Platform” and committed to enacting out the platform goals through campus-wide engagement and advocacy plans.
Read Generation Vote’s First New York Youth Voting Rights and Engagement Platform, released January 2020 below.