Registration among young voters up since shooting in Parkland

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - More young people are registering to vote in Palm Beach County this year compared to the last midterm election in 2014, which the supervisor of elections contributes to the wave of political activism following the shooting in Parkland.

"This is the first time in the 10 years that I’ve been the supervisor of elections that we’ve seen this kind of activity within that demographic of young voters," said Susan Bucher, supervisor of elections in the county.

The trend is happening across the state and nation.

In January, young voters made up 28 percent of the voting population in Florida compared to 40 percent by April, Bucher said.

"Almost instantaneously we started getting high school students seeing if we were going to come out and do voter registration," she said.

Bucher said her office always visits every high school, public and private, in the county to register teenagers to vote. This year, she's seen more enthusiasm, but the real question is if they'll actually get to the polls.

"I think we’ve been very successful this year in increasing our voter base," she said. "Now we just have to turn them into actual votes and voters."

Statistics from TargetSmart shows a more than 2% increase in young voters registering nationally.

"I think that we have a generation that is starting to step up," Bucher said.

Ari Silver, who will be a junior at Olympic Heights High School, preregistered to vote at the age of 16 following the shooting in February.

"If it wasn’t for the shooting in Parkland, I probably would’ve waited until I was 18," Silver said.

He is involved heavily politically by hosting rallies, candidate forums, and town hall events. At all of those events, he makes sure a booth is set up to register voters.

"You can go protest, you can go rally, but the power is in the vote," he said.

Voters can even register online at registertovoteflorida.gov. The deadline to register with a party and vote in the primary is Monday, July 30. The deadline for the election is in October.

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