Youth turnout could sink or save midterms

Editorial Board

When it comes to voting, it is a known fact that young voters tend to have lower turnout rates than older generations, however, this may change come the November midterms. Last month, two politically-charged decisions were made that directly impacted young voters. These topics include abortion and climate change.

A crucial development in the fight for abortion rights occurred on Aug. 2 in the state of Kansas. Voters sent a powerful message about their desire to protect their right to an abortion despite being in a predominantly red state. This was the first test of voter sentiment after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, providing an unexpected result with potential implications for the coming midterm elections. Now that states are passing legislation that enforces their own abortion laws, young voters’ ballots in gubernatorial and other important elections are especially critical in such states as Pennsylvania and Georgia, where abortion laws are relying on election results.

On Aug. 15, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which is heading to President Joe Biden’s office to be signed into law. Within this bill are investments aimed at bringing down consumer energy costs, increasing energy security, decarbonizing all sectors of the economy and focusing on disadvantaged communities, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A poll conducted by Data for Progress found that 73% of voters from the ages of 18 to 29 support the new bill that provides tax incentives for the production of renewable energy.

Often, young people feel motivated to push political leaders on issues they care about, such as abortion and climate change. Young voters’ disappointment or disillusionment with particular politicians does not necessarily mean they are disillusioned about their own political power. This fight over abortion rights and climate change is likely to motivate and mobilize young voters on both sides of the issue — and their participation could have a significant impact on key races.