Report: Youth Voter Participation in Wisconsin Highest in Nation

MADISON — A report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Wisconsin had the highest youth turnout (18-24) in the United States in last November’s midterm election. Wisconsin edged out Michigan with 48.7% of Wisconsin youth turnout compared to Michigan’s 44.9%. Both states re-elected Democratic governors despite Democrats holding the White House.

Other swing states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Colorado, were also in the top ten of youth voter turnout rates. Meanwhile, another Midwestern state, Ohio has anemic youth turnout at only 18.7% which could help to explain the landslide victory by Republican Governor Mike DeWine and the close election of Senator J.D. Vance.

Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed both a Republican and Democratic operative working on youth turnout for their take:

Ali Beneker, 19, who chairs the University of Wisconsin-Madison chapter of College Republicans stated, “When we have 10 statewide elections in the last 22 years that were decided by less than 30,000 votes, and then you look at the UW-Madison campus, and we have around 50,000 people, that’s a huge impact that college students can have on Wisconsin elections,” she said. “I think that students are starting to realize the power we have.”

Brianna Koerth, 25, who was the youth organizing director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in November added “Students are becoming regular voters, and, in Wisconsin, we’ve … been lucky to have programs that have invested in getting students to go (vote),” she said. “I think that has shown time and time again that it does matter.”

Wisconsin Public Radio added that youth turnout surged in the most recent special election which saw Janet Protasiewicz win by an 11-point margin showing that races with abortion access or other youth priorities front and center lead to higher youth turnout and bigger margins of victory for Democrats and others who support increased access to abortion and common sense gun laws.




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