Saturday Snippets is a regular weekend Daily Kos feature.
• Black youth vote in Georgia made the difference: Young Americans, those aged 18 to 29, are always the demographic that votes least. The record turnout came in 1972 when 52%-55% of under-30 voters showed up at the polls. Young voters approached that record in 1992 and 2008. We don’t yet know whether the nationwide youth turnout finally beat that record in 2020, but we do know there was a big surge of young voters in Georgia this year. Youth voters contributed 21% of the state’s overall vote, the highest in the nation for that age group, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE, at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. Nationally, the average was 17% this year, compared to 16% in 2016. Young voters skewed heavily Democratic, casting ballots for Biden about 18% more than for Trump. But there was a serious difference. African American youth voted 90% for Biden while 62% of young white voters went for Trump. Said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of CIRCLE, “If young people came out in a slighter smaller number—if they came out like the rest of the country—Biden would still be losing.” That increase turnout is a product of years of grassroots organizing sparked by Stacey Abrams’ powerful but unsuccessful 2018 run for the Georgia governorship and her post-election work to boost turnout among Democrats in the state, with an emphasis on combatting voter suppression and curbing disenfranchisement. The New Georgia Project, Campus Vote Project, Students for 2020, and Opportunity Youth United all hired young volunteers and put strong efforts into luring young voters to the polls on social media. “These numbers are not magical,” said Ciarra Malone, Georgia’s State Coordinator for the Campus Vote Project. “Georgia is only a battleground state right now because of the youth vote and how many young people in the Atlanta area have turned out to vote. Organizers, especially young organizers, have been working especially hard.”
• Voters make Nevada first state to protect marriage equality in its constitution: More than 60% of Nevada voters on Tuesday supported a ballot measure that requires state authorities to issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender. “It feels good that we let the voters decide,” Chris Davin, president of Equality Nevada, told NBC News. “The people said this, not judges or lawmakers. This was direct democracy—it’s how everything should be.”
• Here’s how some state ballot issues turned out: And here is the National Conference of State Legislatures’ interactive database of all 2020 state initiatives and referendums.
• Nineteen of 20 ballot initiatives on police reform passed: In the wake of nationwide protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter, the measures focus on scrutinizing police power and abuse and dealing differently with social problems such as people acting out because of mental illness that cops are often called on to resolve. Included in the measures is the creation or strengthening of police review boards. Voters approved these reforms in at least 11 cities and counties in five states. All 19 winning proposals received at least two-thirds affirmative votes. “All of this is just a culmination of the years of organizing that has happened by Black folks,” Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, who leads the nonprofit Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, told Bloomberg CityLab.
• The new “normal”—armed protesters show up at vote-counting centers: “The more we see, the more people see it as a normal reaction—even though it’s not. There’s nothing normal about it,” said American University professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who studies extremism. “The potential for violence becomes normalized.” The county treasurer in Detroit, Eric Sabree, said he had closed his office because of threats. In a statement, he said the decision was made “in the interest of the safety of taxpayers and our staff” and because of “credible information” from the sheriff’s office. Interviews with some armed protesters invariably elicit comments about openly carrying firearms wherever and whenever they wish being an American right and bulwark against tyranny. They dress in fatigues, carry pistols, shotguns, military-style semi-automatic rifles, and plenty of ammunition. “Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day free from threat and intimidation,” state Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement after the Michigan secretary of state ordered a ban open carrying of firearms at polling stations and vote-counting operations, a move still being fought in the courts. “An armed presence at the polls is inconsistent with our notion of a free democracy.”
• Donald Trump has been tweeting today, and this was before Biden became President-elect:
• College students deciding not to enroll because of pandemic are taking a big financial risk, experts say:
Undergraduate enrollment fell 4% this year at U.S. institutions, largely driven by a 16% decline in freshmen attendance, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Economists and financial advisers warn that abandoning school will be detrimental to their long-term interest: People with bachelor’s degrees earn $958,880 more in a lifetime than those with a high-school diploma, according to an analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.