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Voter Registration Rates Highest in 20 Years

This story was originally published by Public News Service.

Voter registration rates in the U.S. hit a record high in last year's midterm elections, according to the latest census data.

Registration rates rose to more than 69% of the citizen voting-age population, up more than 2% from the 2018 midterms.

Liz Tentarelli, president of the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire, said research shows increasing political polarization leads to greater voter interest and turnout.

"If people get very dissatisfied with those who are in power or who are running for office they are much more likely to vote," Tentarelli explained.

Voter turnout in the 2022 midterms was down by more than 1% compared to the 2018 midterms. For those who were registered in 2022 but did not vote, the most common reason was "too busy" due to a "conflicting work or school schedule," which voting rights advocates say is even greater incentive to make Election Day a national holiday.

Voting advocates said getting eligible voters ages 18 to 29 to the polls remains the biggest challenge. In New Hampshire, eligible voters are required to register in-person at their town clerk's office or at the polls on Election Day.

Tentarelli acknowledged younger voters handle most of their business online and would prefer to register to vote online, too.

"So until we make that possible I think we're missing out on young people who care about the issues," Tentarelli noted.

Just 27% of voters ages 18 to 29 voted in last year's midterm, which was still the second-highest youth voter turnout rate in three decades. Tentarelli predicted even greater numbers of voters of all ages and from both parties will take part in the 2024 elections, even though the slate of candidates has yet to be determined.