NextGen’s Impact on Vote by Mail Returns During June Primary Elections

After digging into the numbers, it’s clear: NextGen America’s efforts helped push young Americans to vote by mail across battleground states with primary elections held in June. Young voters reached by phone call, text message, and online by NextGen voted early at nearly twice the rate of young people as a whole across these three elections. With the second wave of COVID-19 cases spiking across the country, it is critical that the largest voting bloc in America, people under the age of 35, are informed and excited to cast their ballot from the safety of their own home. Data collected from NextGen’s work in Iowa, Nevada, and Pennsylvania prove that:

  • Young people reached by NextGen through remote tactics — phone, texts, online pledges and ad engagements — turned out at around twice the rate of youth overall
  • While the turnout gap between youth and older voters remains large, those who requested a ballot voted at rates much closer to their older counterparts.
  • NextGen outreach boosted the ballot return rate, adding 6-12 percentage points in Iowa and Pennsylvania and more than doubling the return rate in Nevada (where everyone was mailed a ballot).

By following the same playbook this fall, NextGen America aims to turn young Americans out with a 2-to-1 margin for progressives and do our part to remove Trump from office, flip the Senate, and elect change-makers up and down the ballot. Key breakdowns by state are listed below. 

NextGen Iowa Primary Results By The Numbers:

Dials: 24,729
Texts Sent: 16,774
Digital Ad Audience: 101,332
Pieces of Direct Mail: 50,759
Voters Registered: 4,786
Voters Pledged: 11,299

The youth vote (18-35) in Iowa accounted for 10% of total ballots cast in the Democratic primary this year. 78% of young people who requested to vote by mail returned their ballots, proving that when young people are armed with the tools they need to vote safely from home, they can be reliable votes for progressive causes and candidates. But young voters contacted by NextGen on the phone or by text returned their ballots at even higher rates, adding 6-12 percentage points to their turnout compared to their peers (see below).

% returned mail ballots (of requested)
All 18-3578%
18-35 Registered by NextGen84% (+6pts)
18-35 Signed NextGen Pledge to Vote88% (+10pts)
18-35 Texted by NextGen90% (+12pts)


NextGen Nevada Primary Results By The Numbers:

Dials: 8,832
Texts Sent: 30,322
Digital Ad Audience: 139,576
Pieces of Direct Mail: 12,541
Voters Registered: 3,036
Voters Pledged: 4,041

Every eligible voter received a mail-in ballot for this year’s Nevada primary due to COVID-19, allowing NextGen to focus on a ballot chase program to boost youth turnout by contacting young voters with phone calls and texts. Young voters who were texted by NextGen turned out at double the rate of their peers. Voters who were contacted by phone saw an even bigger increase (+21 percentage points), as seen in the table below.

% early vote turnout
All 18-3515%
18-35 Registered by NextGen21% (+6pts)
18-35 Signed NextGen Pledge to Vote33% (+17pts)
18-35 Texted by NextGen30% (+15pts)
18-35 Called by NextGen36% (+21pts)


*Chart above does not include ballots requested because every voter was sent an absentee ballot due to COVID-19

NextGen Pennsylvania Primary Results By The Numbers:

Dials: 57,163
Texts Sent: 589,794
Digital Ad Audience: 514,135
Pieces of Direct Mail: 327,894
Voters Registered: 15,067
Voters Pledged: 11,437

Overall youth mail voting turnout hovered around 9% this June, compared with 22% for all ages. But NextGen helped close this age gap by driving VBM ballot requests in the weeks leading up to the election and ensuring young voters returned their ballots over the final week. A whopping 24% of young voters called or texted by NextGen voted early, resulting in a 75% return rate of requested ballots — 6 percentage points higher than their peers. 

% returned mail ballots (of requested)
All 18-3569%
18-35 Registered by NextGen75% (+6pts)
18-35 Texted/Called by NextGen75% (+6pts)
18-35 Signed NextGen Pledge to Vote77% (+8pts)