Gen-Z Voters Make a Difference in Mid-Term Elections

Expectations of a Red Wave Dissipate, Disappoint

Madison Harressey, Staff Writer

Gen-Z voter turnout for the 2022 midterm elections helped the Democratic party prevent a predicted red wave. 

According to Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of Rutgers’ Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, a red wave (Republicans winning a large majority of seats) was predicted by many pundits because of President Biden’s low approval ratings. However, with the Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade, as a result of the Dobbs decision, Republican candidates became less popular with voters. 

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, the November 2022 marks the second-highest youth voter turnout of any midterm election in history.​​ The current hot button issues such as abortion rights and gun laws motivated young voters to the polls. 

New voters add another demographic candidates must appeal to, especially with the presidential elections just two short years away. 

[Voting is important] “because America needs the most equipped leader for the needs at the time of the election,” said Alexandria Zimmerman, “ and the only way to find the person that most fits those needs is by voting.” 

Psephology, the statistical study of elections and trends in voting, confirms the trend of The House of Representatives switching away from the majority party after midterms. Historically, the opposing political party than that of the White House gains a vast number of seats. This year, because of the tense and divisive political climate and Democrats possessing power in the Congress and Executive branches, a red wave was suspected for the midterms. 

Gen-Z showed up and proved otherwise because of the major issues important to the younger generation currently at stake.

Even students who missed voting due to their age expressed eagerness in participating in the next election.

“When I turn 18, I will be voting in every single election that I can, local and statewide,” said Bee Stevens. “I will make it a priority to make my voice heard. The women before me fought for my right to perform my civic duty and I wish to honor that. Going to the polls is the only way to ensure good people are making the right decisions for my community and me. ”

While the engagement of youth voters was the difference needed for favorable results for the Democratic party, the ways Gen-Z gets its information may not always be reliable. The social media app Tik Tok has become a popular search engine for the younger population as an alternative to Google. According to a study by the NewsGaurd, 20% of the videos on TikTok contain misinformation. 

Because social media is programmed to feed one’s personalized content, the information is often skewed and biased.  

“This summer Forbes did a report on how your generation (Gen-Z) is getting their news almost entirely from social media,” explained Mrs. Julia Mitchell, Director of Communications. 

Social media has also become a highway for the spreading of misinformation, especially political misinformation which can be hard to combat. 

“What I really try to strike the balance between is, you know, letting people have opinions, it’s okay to be upset about things that we do,” said Mitchell, “but when you’re saying something that’s patently false about the school I’m going to come in and intervene one way or another to protect our reputation.” 

Overall, youth voter turnout is important to democracy. Access to reliable information and the knowledge to find credible sources will set the new generation of voters up for success.