Brown: Young adults are the largest block of newly enrolled voters


“There is always a lot of writing about how young people write. please do not I will vote. ” Joshua Rafazan, the youngest member of the Nassau County Parliament at the age of 26, said last week.

“No one writes about young people Maybe … I will vote. “

Demographically, Millennials and Gen Z (also known as Zoomer) are some of the largest, most educated, and most diverse generations in the United States.

“We can be a great power, if we vote for lifelong passion, lifelong activity,” Rafazan said.

Nassau and Suffolk Election Commission statistics on new voter registration give a glimpse of that possibility.

Different counties classify age groups, but young people between the ages of 18 and 34 represent the largest group of new voter registrations this year.

In Suffolk, 41,483 young people between the ages of 18 and 29 have registered. In Nassau, there were a total of 37,555 new enrollments in the 18-24 and 25-35 age groups.

The numbers do not indicate if the young people were registered elsewhere or if they had previously voted.

Many young people have registered as “blanks,” or voters who have chosen not to join a political party.

In Suffolk, the blank accounted for 15,621, the most young voter registration. Of the total 85,954 new registrations in the county, the Democratic Party was second with 14,428 and the Republican Party was third with 9,434.

In Nassau. The Democratic Party withdrew the most registrations from young people, with 15,297, the second with 13,268 blanks, the Republican Party with third, and 7,699 out of a total of 67,334 new registrations in the county.

Why so many blanks?

Rafazan attended Chosset’s school board at the age of 18 since winning his first election in 2012, but “I think there is consistent frustration because of the paralysis in our politics. “.

For millennials and Zoomers, a better alternative to addressing concerns such as climate change is to “find a solution and find consensus,” he said.

Lawrence Levy, Executive Dean of the National Center for Suburban Research at Hofstra University, agreed.

“For young people, climate, the environment and other issues are real and urgent concerns as they will continue for the next 50 years,” Levy said. “That doesn’t apply to many of us.”

Anita Katz, a democratic election commissioner in Suffolk, said it was not uncommon for youth registrations to surge during the year of the presidential election.

But this year seems different, Katz said.

“Hello from parents” In the past, but absentee ballots have been sent to the son, son There was a phone that I lost it. Can you send another vote? “. She said.

Not this year.

“Now we’re getting a call from our parents,’Hey, did you get my ballot, and can you check my kids Henry and Linda too?'” Katz said. Told.

“The 18-year-old high school student is at home and the college student is at home. They see and hear from their parents about voting, going to vote, and they are very interested in everything. [political] This year is the side. “

Indeed, the pandemic is one of many factors that makes 2020 different from 2016.

Protests after George Floyd’s death during police detention in Minneapolis in May sent an army of young people to the streets of Nassau and Suffolk, in fact streets around the world, to protest.

And, of course, there is use by professionals of the social media generation.

Gillian Weston, president of Unicorn Network, a long island organization for “entrepreneur millennials” founded by Weston in 2016, said:

Weston is a social media interaction-ie. Likes and Follows on Instagram and Twitter — “We’re driving them to examine their perspectives, opinions and thoughts and use their voices to be confident in their decision to make a difference,” Weston said. Said.

Still, as Weston, 31, points out, there are some intergenerational differences between millennials and the Zoomer generation.

“We were told not to talk about politics.” We felt our opinion was not important because we were not verified at home, or they had to be hidden I didn’t, “she said.

Rafazan, born in 1994 at the top of the Zoomer generation, is said to have started in 1995 or 1996, but there are differences.

“I have an intern who is three years younger, but they don’t use TikTok, so they make fun of me,” he said.

But just because a lot of young people have registered this year doesn’t mean they’re actually voting, Levy said.

That said, according to national polls, integrated youth voting can make a difference even on Long Island.

“Suburban youth tend to register as Democrats and stay as Democrats,” he said. “If they vote, they start changing dynamics in purple places like Long Island, making it more and more blue over the years.”

Rafazan, who held a Democratic rally in parliament, acknowledged the lack of sustained turnout by young voters.

But he believes this year could be different.

“The pandemic influenced not only how they see the world, but how they see the government,” he said.

Still, he said it wasn’t enough to raise turnout in a year.

“Youth need to run in county and state elections,” he said. “Then we can make a difference.”

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