Our analysis of youth voter turnout nationwide finds wide variation between states and underscores the importance of electoral laws and policies that help grow voters.
New Jersey led the region and the nation in youth voter turnout in 2020; six states in the Northeast had turnout rates above 50%.
The states with one of the highest (Minnesota) and the lowest (South Dakota) 2020 youth voter turnout are in the Midwest.
Voter turnout across the South a region where voting by mail was generally not as easy, ranged from 56% in Virginia to 34% in Oklahoma.
Electoral participation ranged from 39% to 63% in this region, where many states tried to facilitate voting by mail in 2020.
The runoff elections for both Georgia seats will determine control of the Senate, and mobilizing Black youth in the state may be a decisive factor.
However, in 16 states, registration among youth ages 18-19 is lower than in 2016, suggesting the pandemic may have hindered efforts to reach the youngest eligible voters
In half of the states ranked in the top 10 of our Youth Electoral Significance Index, at least a third of the population lives in rural areas.
Both Georgia Senate races, two House races, and the presidential race in the state are in our top-10 rankings of elections where youth can influence results.
This is part of our Youth Expertise Series, in which young people use their experiences to write about how we can improve youth civic engagement and civic life.