Gen Z voting turnout could have a big election impact

Nov 8, 2023, 7:49 PM

Image of a ballot drop box at the Salt Lake County Government Center. A Utah elections official wei...

FILE: A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. A Utah elections official weighs in on the potential impact this year of Gen Z voting. (Scott G Winterton/ Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/ Deseret News)

WEBER COUNTY, Utah —  The youngest voters could have a big impact on upcoming elections. Namely, Gen Z appears to be voting in greater numbers than previous generations at the same age. 

According to an article from WYFF News, Gen Z — those between the ages of 11 and 27 — are more politically active as young adults spurred by issues like climate change, COVID-19, and the impact of the Trump presidency. 

A Utah view on Gen Z voting

Weber County Clerk and Auditor Ricky Hatch compared the number of registered Gen Z voters this year with years past. 

According to Hatch, that age group represents more than 13% of his registered voters. That number balloons if you include voters up to age 35. 

“Almost a third of voters are 35 and younger,” said Hatch. “Just a little over a third are 56 and older, and then the rest fall in between them. So they’re making up a larger chunk.” 

Hatch said this could make a real difference in how an election might go. The real key is if there’s something on the ballot that motivates Gen-Z voters to head to the polls on election day.

While Hatch doesn’t necessarily expect a lot of Gen Z voters to turn out in two weeks, but 2024 could be a different story. 

Motivating young voters

Hatch said it’s what’s on the ballot that will drive younger voters to show up.

“If you have a governor’s race or a president’s race that increases turnout,” said Hatch. “If you have ballot initiatives such as medical marijuana, that’s going to increase turnout. School vouchers, anything related to education, wars and military spending, government shutdown, Obamacare; any topics like that.”

Hatch said the 2020 election had a high number of younger voters cast their ballots

“Quite often, if it’s hot button nationally, it’s probably going to be a hot button here.”

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Gen Z voting turnout could have a big election impact