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Memo: One in three young people voted in Nevada's blue-wave midterm election

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Election 2020IndyBlog

More than a third of young Nevada voters showed up to the polls in November, more than double the percentage of such voters who cast a ballot during the last midterm election.

Those numbers come from a memo released Wednesday by NextGen America as the climate-focused group prepares to ramp-up ahead of Nevada’s first-in-the-West caucus in 2020. Though the data reflects an overall increase in voter turnout between 2014 and 2018, the 22 percentage-point increase among voters between the ages of 18 and 35 between the two midterm elections eclipsed the 19 percent bump seen in the general population, the group noted in its report.

“While turnout was high across all ages, the turnout rate of young Nevadans increased disproportionately,” the memo said.

The group credited its overall outreach efforts with contributing to Democratic victories up and down the ballot, including former Rep. Jacky Rosen’s election to the U.S. Senate and the comfortable majorities Democrats secured in both chambers of the Legislature.

In 2018, NextGen was one of more than three dozen community groups, unions, PACs, and other third-party organizations that mobilized Democratic voters in the Silver State as part of the progressive coalition, America Votes Nevada. NextGen focused on both college students, both at four-year colleges such as UNLV and community colleges like Truckee Meadows Community College, and young people generally in its voter outreach efforts.

NextGen’s analysis found that 64 percent of the young voters they targeted showed up to the polls, compared to only 27 percent for their age group as a whole. The numbers were even higher for voters contacted through canvassing (67 percent) and those who participated in the group’s voter pledge program (69 percent).

The group also found success among its outreach to young people of color. Where about 38 percent of young black voters cast ballots in Nevada in 2018, 56 percent of those that NextGen contacted turned out to the polls. The group saw similar results with young Hispanic voters, with 66 percent of those the group contacted casting ballots compared to only 47 percent overall.

NextGen determined that voters targeted in its 11-week digital ad campaign turned out to the polls at a rate that was 5 percentage points higher than those it didn’t target, while the 490,000 people it sent mailers to showed up at a rate that was 8 percent higher than those who weren’t contacted by mail.

The group also found that the more methods it used to reach out to young voters — including face-to-face, via text, online or by mail — the more likely they were to actually vote. Thirty-three percent of those contacted by only one method cast a ballot, while 71 percent contacted through all four participated in the electoral process.

Read the full memo below:

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