The Keystone to Democracy’s Future in Pennsylvania

Light blue background with a man standing in front of the Pennsylvania state shape holding and pointing to a voter registration form on a clipboard.

Young voters are the lifeblood of our democracy. Our ideas, energy and determination have the power to create transformative change if our voices are represented at the ballot box.

Pennsylvania, like the rest of our country, is facing a myriad of challenges that demand immediate attention and action. From climate change and health care to racial justice and economic equality, the decisions made by our elected officials will directly impact our lives and the future we envision. It is vital that the young people of Pennsylvania rise up and seize their opportunity to shape the direction of the state and country.

As we look ahead to the upcoming election, there is a specific, urgent reason why young voters should turn out in force: the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race. This race holds immense importance for the protection of women’s reproductive rights, a fundamental aspect of personal freedom and gender equality. The decisions made by the state Supreme Court have far-reaching consequences, and we cannot afford to let these rights be eroded or diminished. Young voters must seize this opportunity to ensure that the state Supreme Court represents our values and safeguards abortion rights of all Pennsylvanians.

At NextGen America, the country’s largest youth vote organization, we have seen firsthand the incredible impact that young voters can have on elections. During the 2022 election cycle, we contacted over 2.1 million young eligible voters in Pennsylvania through in-person events, texts and calls — representing nine out of 10 registered young voters in the state. 

Our outreach was clearly reflected in overall turnout. Pennsylvania’s young voters made a resounding statement last year, demonstrating the transformative power we possess when we unite in a common cause. Pennsylvania had one of the highest youth turnout rates in the country — 32% — with nearly a third of voters between the ages of 18-29 turning out to cast a ballot.

For young Pennsylvanians, this is a crucial moment in safeguarding the values we care about the most.

And in the U.S. Senate race, young people fought tirelessly to power Democrat John Fetterman to victory. Fetterman won by a slim 5% margin, and youth ages 18-29 preferred him 70% to 28%. It is clear that young Pennsylvanian voters are changing the state’s political landscape and electorate — winning massive gains for progressives across Pennsylvania in both federal and state offices.

This substantial increase in youth voter participation showcases a growing awareness and engagement among young people, a trend that we must continue to build upon. Millennials and Gen Zers have demonstrated their dedication to justice, equality and progress through engagement and advocacy. Our energy and passion have driven historic turnouts at the polls, demonstrating our collective desire for a brighter future for our country. 

However, our work is far from over. The upcoming election presents us with an opportunity to make a lasting impact by electing leaders who reflect our values and prioritize the issues that matter most to us. 

The Supreme Court race is not an isolated event; it directly impacts the lives of every young person in the state. For young Pennsylvanians, this is a crucial moment in safeguarding the values we care about the most. By participating in this election, we have a unique opportunity to further shape the court’s composition, ensuring it reflects our vision of a just and equitable society, protects women’s reproductive rights and stands up for the issues that matter most to us. 

This week’s voter registration deadline for the upcoming election is an important juncture for every young Pennsylvanian. It presents an opportunity to assert our power, not only as individuals but as a collective force that can tip the scales in favor of a more inclusive and progressive society. The decisions made by those elected will affect our lives and our futures, making this election more than just a duty — it is a chance to create real change in Pennsylvania.

Our generation understands the power we possess, and we refuse to be silenced. We recognize the urgency of the challenges we face, and we are ready to rise to the occasion. But we can only achieve this if we all stand together, registered and committed to voting on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Pennsylvania’s youth: your future is in your hands. Our power lies in our numbers and our determination to see a better and more equitable country. Let us come together to reshape the narrative, influence policy and set the course for a Pennsylvania that reflects our collective values and aspirations.

The world is watching, and history beckons. 

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is the president and executive director of NextGen America.