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NextGen America

NextGen America (formerly NextGen Climate) was founded by Tom Steyer in 2013 and is guided by a simple mission: When we get young people to show up and vote, we win. After starting and growing a successful investment firm, Tom stepped down to focus his energy and resources on climate change, fighting for racial justice and putting people — not corporations — in charge of our democracy. One key gap Tom noticed in the fight for justice was the need to elect leaders willing to face the climate crisis with the level of urgency and action it demands. NextGen was created to build the grassroots power in key states and districts to elect pro-climate Democrats into office. While our mission has expanded to advocate for a wider array of issues affecting young people, our strategy remains the same: Identify, engage, and mobilize people under the age of 35 who are less than likely to vote or who are not currently registered to vote.

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Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

States should continue offering voters options like early voting, writes LaRoque.

Time to make sure voting remains easy again in 2022

LaRoque volunteers for the Election Reformers Network, a group of international election specialists who promote electoral improvements in the United States. A past election observer in 10 foreign countries, she was on an international team that monitored the November presidential election.

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Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Democrats Raphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff will face Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Georgia next month.

Rush to register young Georgians as key voting bloc, again, in Senate runoffs

Just as young voters played a significant role in turning Georgia blue for president this fall, they may also be paramount in determining which party controls the Senate.

And with so much riding on the runoff elections in four weeks for both the state's Senate seats, civic engagement organizations and political groups have been firing on all cylinders to find and register new voters by Monday's deadline. They are particularly interested in the 23,000 Georgians who weren't old enough to vote this fall but will pass their 18th birthdays by Jan. 5.

That may seem like a relatively tiny number in a state with 5 million votes in the general election. But the number is twice as big as Joe Biden's margin of victory all three times Georgia's presidential ballots have been counted. And, in a contest with turnout sure to be way down from November, the import of each ballot will be greater.

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Andy Manis/Getty Images

Record voter turnout included a doubling in the number of mail-in ballots, including this stack being counted in a school gym in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Plenty of warnings in the turnout numbers, even though voting surged

To quote the great 1970s power ballad: Two out of three ain't bad.

That Meat Loaf gold record provides a good summation for the record-breaking turnout in the presidential election: It looks like almost exactly two out of every three eligible Americans voted.

That's an estimated 159.4 million adult citizens, 20.5 million more than the previous high four years ago. And it's the strongest turnout rate since 1900 — when, by the way, women still did not have the franchise and most Black citizens and other people of color were effectively blocked from the ballot box.

Why the "ain't bad" summary, then? Because the total nonetheless means nearly 80 million people who had the right to vote decided not to. Because this year does not change how the United States still ranks near the bottom of the world's developed democracies when it comes to election participation. And because while the youth vote increased significantly, half of the population younger than 30 still did not go to the polls for a presidential election highly consequential to their future.

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