SAN DIEGO — President Biden gave a major 'shout-out' to the country's youngest voters, who may have played a crucial role in helping to decide several close races in these midterms.
Exit polls show that voters under 30 made a huge impact this midterm election, with some political analysts pointing to their participation at the polls as one of the key reasons that the anticipated Republican "red wave" on a nationwide level did not materialize.
Twenty-something Veronica Tello recently became a U.S. citizen.
She said it was critical to exercise her right to vote here in her new country the first chance she got, "because I want to be heard," she told CBS 8.
Those voters, ages 18 to 29, were heard, from coast to coast.
"I especially want to thank the young people of this nation," said President Biden, recognizing the near-historic turnout of the youth vote.
"They voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms, and student debt relief," he added.
In fact, a new poll released by Tufts University estimates that 27 percent of Americans under age 30 turned out to vote this midterms: the second highest youth turnout rate for a midterm election in the past three decades, just behind the historic 31 percent turnout in 2018.
Here in San Diego, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs pointed to the threat to abortion rights as a unifying force among younger millennials and older 'Gen Z' voters.
"I think it's because we've seen record turnout of young people and women and of people coming out to say our rights and bodily autonomy is not up for grabs," Jacobs said.
"I think the 'under-30s' are definitely more pro-active," said 25-year-old Claudia Castaneda, who is studying media arts in City Heights.
Along with issues like climate change and a woman's right to choose, other more local issues also drove her to cast a ballot this election, such as more funding for arts and music in our schools.
"I think that is something that I benefited from and when I was a student here in San Diego," she told CBS 8. "That was something that was meaningful to me."
She credited messaging on social media as one of the most influential factors motivating young people to take part in the democratic process.
"You know, the time when it matters, I think we are paying attention," she added.
California's Secretary of State actually allows sixteen and seventeen year old residents to "pre-register" to vote, so that their voter registration becomes immediately active once they turn 18 years old. For more information ,click here.
WATCH RELATED: The red wave that wasn't | Breaking down the midterm election results (Nov. 2022).
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