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Making Young Voters
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Book description

In 2016, 90% of young Americans reported an interest in politics. 80% intended to vote. Yet only 43% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 ended up actually casting a ballot. Making Young Voters investigates what lies at the core of this gap. The authors' in-depth, interdisciplinary approach reveals that political apathy is not the reason for low levels of youth turnout. Rather, young people too often fail to follow through on their political interests and intentions. Those with 'noncognitive' skills related to self-regulation are more likely to overcome internal and external barriers to participation. This book combines theory from psychology, economics, child development, and more to explore possible solutions rooted in civic education and electoral reform. This potentially paradigm-shifting contribution to the literature of American politics serves to influence not only our understanding of voter turnout, but also the fundamental connections between the education system, electoral institutions, and individual civic behavior in a democracy. How young people vote affects not only each individual future, but that of the United States, and of us all.


‘Holbein and Hillygus have written a once-in-a-generation book. If you care about boosting youth voter turnout – and you should – then read Making Young Voters. It provides scholars with a compelling new way of thinking about the challenges of voting. It provides policymakers with specific ways to increase young people's turnout. And it provides everyone with a vision for what a healthy democratic culture would look like.'

David Campbell - Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy, University of Notre Dame

‘Why do so few young Americans vote? The problem is not apathy, but rather that many lack the skills needed to follow through on their intentions. In Making Young Voters, John Holbein and Sunshine Hillygus make a persuasive case that equipping students with those skills is a missing piece of civic education programs – and, in doing so, provide a helpful playbook for educators seeking to turn their students into active citizens.'

Martin West - William H. Bloomberg Professor of Education, Harvard University

‘This book persuasively argues that there's more to voting than just knowing and caring about politics. Making Young Voters provides a strikingly original, thoroughly researched, whole-voter approach that will be of great interest to researchers, educators, and policymakers.'

Cindy D. Kam - William R. Kenan, Jr Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University

‘This terrific book unpacks the alarmingly low voter turnout rates of young people, providing good news along the way.'

Barry Burden - University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Director, Elections Research Center

‘… a book that should be read by all scholars interested in identifying the best ways to galvanize them.’

R. P. Seyb Source: Choice

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