Progressive Group Bets on Young NV Voters for 2018 Elections

A recent study from Harvard’s Institute of Politics shows 37 percent of voters under age 30 said they will “definitely be voting” in 2018 midterm elections, up from 23 percent who made that claim in 2014. (Michele M./Twenty20)

LAS VEGAS – Just 17 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds turned out to vote in the last midterm elections in 2014 – a record low, according to a Tufts University study. But, progressive groups hope the 2018 midterms will be different, especially in battleground states like Nevada.

The grassroots group NextGen hopes to build on the momentum of the “March for Our Lives” and other recent youth-led political movements, to get more young voters to the polls this year.

Jalakoi Solomon, youth director for NextGen, says she sees the growing energy among young people firsthand.

“Students are really engaged and energized by this idea that they can really have a voice, they can really make a difference,” she says.

Ahead of 2018 elections, she says NextGen is focusing efforts on 10 key states – and Nevada is one of them. The state’s population is becoming more racially diverse and its urban centers are growing. Solomon thinks those demographic shifts mean the next generation of Nevada voters might support more progressive policies.

NextGen has a campaign to mail voter registration packets to newly eligible voters on their 18th birthday. Solomon says the group also has representatives working on college campuses.

“We are every day planning new, creative ways to get students and young people on campus engaged – to get them registered to vote, to get them excited about the 2018 midterms and really, to just build their civic engagement,” she adds.

Nevada’s ballots this fall will include races for governor, U.S. Senate and congressional seats.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service – NV

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