Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who is up for re-election in November, poses for a photo with a young supporter on the day of the New York primary election, June 23, in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
July 14 (UPI) -- Uncertainty among young Americans about how to register to vote or cast a ballot by mail could have a significant impact on the U.S. presidential election in November, a new Gallup poll showed Tuesday.
According to the survey, about one-third of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 said they're unsure whether they can register online and only about a quarter have voted by mail before.
"That means 75 percent of young adults lack personal experience voting by mail and over a third -- more than 15 million potential voters -- lack vital information about how to go about it," Gallup wrote.
With the COVID-19 pandemic sure to affect the general election on Nov. 3, researchers said the confusion could lead to a lower turnout.
Sixty-four percent of respondents said they know where to learn about voting by mail and about the same share said they have seen similar information.
"These challenges of access and information may especially hinder participation by the youngest adults (ages 18-21) who have turned 18 since the last presidential election," Gallup added.
Young adults have shown more engagement in primary elections so far this year. The survey showed 70 percent said they have discussed political issues or elections with friends; 65 percent said they have helped someone in need; and just more than half said they have tried to persuade other young Americans to vote.
The most important issues for younger voters, the survey said, are healthcare (32 percent), the environment and climate change (31 percent), racism (29 percent) and returning the United States to "normal" after the coronavirus pandemic (25 percent).
Gallup and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement polled about 2,200 prospective voters in the 18-29 age range for the survey, which includes oversamples of 18- to 21-year-olds, young Republicans and Asian American, black and Latino youths. The survey has a margin of error of 4.1 points.
Mannequins with face masks and designer clothing fill a window at a Diane Von Furstenberg store in New York City on September 8, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo