New Democracy Maps

Young Voters

There are an estimated 53.5 million young people between the ages of 18 and 29 in the United States, representing over 16% of the total population. These young people, in particular college students, are a demographic that has traditionally been overlooked and assumed to be uninterested in participating in the democratic process, due at least in part to relatively lower voter turnout. However, young voters face specific structural barriers to voting—and even despite these growing barriers, in recent years, young voter turnout has increased significantly.

 The resources on this page focus on policies that both support and harm the ability of young voters to participate in democracy. 

Related Resources


How States Can Empower Young Voters and Remove Barriers to the Ballot

February 2024 - This Q&A with Brian Hinkle, MAP’s Senior Voting Policy Researcher, highlights key findings from our Democracy Maps report on youth voting.


A Silenced Generation: How the Power of the Youth Vote Collides with Barriers to Voting

January 2024 - This report examines specific barriers that young voters face, what states can do to support young voters, and how each state’s election policies impact this important demographic.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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