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Youth Electoral Impact: An Update to our 2020 YESI Rankings

CIRCLE's exclusive rankings of the states and districts where youth can decide elections this November illustrate the power of young voters.

In May, we launched the 2020 Youth Electoral Significance Index (YESI), our ranking of the states and districts where young people have the highest potential to influence Senate and House races as well as the presidential race this fall. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide protests over racial injustice, and the usual election-year vagaries have continued to alter the landscape of this November’s electoral contests. In order to offer the most up-to-date snapshot of young voters’ potential, today we’re publishing our updated 2020 YESI rankings, along with an expanded list of the top 50 House districts where youth could decide the results.

What Changed?

Most of the changes in our updated rankings are due to changes in the competitiveness of various races across the country.

  • Georgia: In our presidential rankings, several states moved up or down one or two spots and, notably, Georgia replaced Maine on the #10 slot. Georgia’s recent emergence as a battleground state also informed our Senate rankings. The state has two Senate races in 2020 and the one for the seat held by Kelly Loeffler was #8 in our earlier rankings; the updated version sees that race move up to #7 and the race for David Perdue’s seat enter the top-10 at #6. 
  • Alaska: The Alaska Senate race also makes it into our updated rankings (at #10), while Kansas and Alabama (#9 and #10, respectively, in the previous ranking), drop out of the top 10 entirely—though just barely, as they’re now ranked 11th and 12th.
  • House of Reprensetatives: In our ranking for U.S. House races, the Georgia 7th climbed from #5 to #3 and the Georgia 6th, absent from our previous ranking, is now the #10 race. The Utah 4th and the New Jersey 3rd drop out of the top 10, while the Virginia 7th enters at #8.

Top 50 U.S. House Races

Of course, young voters have the ability to influence more than just 10 races across the country. To provide a more complete picture of where youth might shape the results, today we’re sharing the top 50 races in our House rankings. Some notable details:

  • A total of 25 states are represented in the top 50, highlighting young people’s potential to shape election results across the country.
  • The top 50 list includes districts in “blue” states like New York and California, and “red” states like Kansas and Oklahoma.
  • There are seven Texas districts in the top 50, further underscoring that the state, which is undergoing rapid demographic and political changes, is an emerging battleground.

We encourage you to explore the updated YESI 2020 rankings and consider its implications, not just for outreach and results in 2020, but for the ongoing, long-term project of building young people’s electoral power in years to come.