There has been a significant rise in teen activism since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting complete with speeches, protests, marches, and walkouts. With all the hurt and fury the youth have been expressing on social media, a sharp rise in voter registration was expected in the 18-25 year old demographic. Unfortunately, it isn’t happening. At least not in Tallahassee where the number of registered youthful voters has actually declined since the massacre.
The Leon County Elections office has reported a drop of 690 registered voters in the 18-25 age group since the Valentine’s day shooting, and that number is even larger if you look back over the last year. There are more than 63,000 students populating the two universities in the county but it still saw a drop of more than 4k voters since last March.
It can be discouraging. Especially since the surge in youth activism was seen as a bit of a rallying cry for the Democratic party members, but it should be looked at as just another sign not to get complacent and stop fighting the good fight. Besides, the drop in voter registrations doesn’t necessarily portend a lack of commitment by the teens.
The numbers don’t reflect why those voters left the rolls. It could be that a high school student graduated and moved out of state for college, or a college student graduated and moved to a new city to start a career, and some of the loss could simply be the 25 year-olds of last year now moving into the next age bracket.
Although it was expected that Florida would lead the charge because it has been the epicenter of the youthful activism, and it is disappointing to not see that reflected in the voter registration stats. However, there has been a surge in voter registration among the youth nationwide.
A member of the Elections Office warns that the numbers in Tallahassee don’t paint the whole picture, “the biggest registration numbers come in the lead up to an election.” That is why Democrats as a whole need to remember that they can’t just sit back and watch, the teens can’t be expected to do everything alone. Now is not the time for complacency.