Generation Z and millennial voters showed up in high numbers all across the country for the 2020 presidential election.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a majority of young People of Color (POC) showed support for Joe Biden. CIRCLE’s data indicates the percentage of POC, ranging from ages 18-29, based on their race and preferred presidential candidate.
Rose Sesma, a volunteer poll worker in San Bernardino County, said, “I felt so proud to see so many young people show up to cast their votes early. There’s a lot of them and that means they’re able to make a real difference.”
Researchers from Campus Vote Project and CIRCLE say the surge in social justice activism, importance of climate change, and life alterations due to the pandemic are the major reasons young people felt it was important to vote. With the increase of social media usage, the spread of information about these topics has become more accessible.
Kierstyn Foley, a 21-year-old child development major, said, “I hope to see a lot of changes in our future. Racial equality, better use of money and resources toward this pandemic, and new ways to help our planet.”
Foley is a first-time voter and was excited for the opportunity to make her voice heard. “Voting was important to me because I know that there are changes that need to be made in this country,” Foley said.
Many Generation Z and millennial voters participated in their first election this year because, in 2016, they were too young to vote.
This was not the case, however, for Paola Lazaro, a 24-year-old communications major, who voted for the first time in the 2016 election. She said, “The first time around, I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because, as a woman, I wanted to see a female in office and felt it was time for our voices to be heard.”
Lazaro, who is an advocate for social justice, added, “It is important to vote because it’s time to stop letting prejudice define our nation. I hope to see a world where race, gender, and all those things do not define us. I want discrimination to come to an end.”
Early voting began in October and, as of November 7, 2020, Joe Biden has become the president-elect. He is expected to take office on January 20, 2021.