Peyton Jackson, an 18-year-old high school senior in Illinois who voted for the first time in the midterm elections, previously told BuzzFeed News that she only planned to apply to colleges in Democratic-leaning states, where getting an abortion would be her choice.
Going into the election, Jackson was particularly concerned about the anti-abortion stance of the Republican candidate for governor, Darren Bailey. Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker ultimately won the race, leaving Jackson feeling proud of her fellow voters, particularly her generation.
“The victory in Pennsylvania was amazing to see, as well as the abortion protections in California, Michigan, and even Kentucky,” she said. “I’m very happy to see a lot of the outcomes, even if everything wasn’t perfect.”
When it came to winning over young voters, the use of social media was crucial, said Aidan Kohn-Murphy, founder of Gen Z for Change, a youth-led nonprofit that uses social media to promote civil discourse and political action. (On TikTok alone, the group has over 1.5 million followers, and for the midterms, they did everything from in-person events to a Pretty to the Polls campaign, encouraging people to show off their voting outfits.)
Social media provides politicians and campaigns “with a tool to reach young people in massive numbers in a very short amount of time in a way that no other form of media can do,” Kohn-Murphy told BuzzFeed News. “I think that the campaigns that focused on digital organizing and invested heavily in experienced digital organizers, especially young people, saw success.”