Young Voters Turned Out In Record Rates In NC For 2020 Election

Nov 11, 2020

Bridget Pittman, 22, is an N.C. Central University student who was at the campus' polling place on Election Day.
Credit Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

Young voters helped contribute to record turnout for North Carolina's 2020 general elections.

By the end of early voting, North Carolina voters between the ages of 18 and 29 had already reached 93% of their total turnout in 2016. And 2020 turnout for younger voters went from under 15% to 16% of total turnout in the state.

Loulou Batta is a youth organizer and fourth year student at N.C. Central University in Durham. She told the State of Things that the narrow margins up and down ballots this year made an impression on younger voters.

“A lot of college students, especially, are starting to realize that their vote does have more of a weight than they think it does,” Batta said.

North Carolina elections officials are still processing absentee and provisional ballots, which could make a difference in the outcome of tight races like the battle for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, and the race for State Attorney General.

Rachel Webber is the North Carolina Press Secretary for NextGen, a progressive group focused on driving up voter participation. Weber told the State of Things that younger voters overwhelmingly supported President-elect Joe Biden over incumbent Donald Trump.

“You know, we really care about the issues,” Webber said. “Issues like climate action and racial justice and affordable health care and cost of college.”

Elections officials across the state are still processing outstanding absentee and provisional ballots, but Trump leads Biden by around 1.4 percent in North Carolina.

On Tuesday, Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, despite the race still being too close to call for the Associated Press. Cunningham said in a statement Tuesday that “the voters have spoken” and it was clear Tillis had won. Tillis leads Cunningham by 94,500 votes in what became the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history.