Early voting in the 2018 midterms has been exceptionally high, with more than 31 million votes already cast nationwide. In several states across the country, voter turnout has well-surpassed the 2014 midterm election.
One factor behind the strong voter numbers has been strong youth voter turnout. According to the Washington Post, youth turnout rates in the midterms are up by 125 percent compared to 2014.
"What we're doing is we're pointing out how young people are systematically oppressed in all communities across the country. And how voting is one of the ways, voting and not just in this election but every election could be a way of ending that."
David Hogg, a survivor of the Stoneman-Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, has been a constant voice on gun violence this year making cable TV appearance speaking at rallies and leading protests across the country.
"The fact that children are either on their way to school or, or in school to learn about the issues of the world and then are taken victim by those issues before they can even go out and solve them should not be acceptable by our society."
Rie’Onna Holmon is a high school student and activist in Chicago who's fighting to prevent gun violence on the southside of the city. She is part of Chicago's B.R.A.V.E Youth Leaders.
"I was like, 'No, I'm not into politics. I don't wanna speak about it.' But … I don't want to keep hearing these stories and not do anything about it. I want to take action, … I wanted to ya know, remember that God gave me a voice and it's up to me to use this voice for positive reasons and not negative influences."
"More than, like, anything we're doing, just the current state of politics for young people is just, pissed off. That's going to motivate them a lot to get out to the polls, you know? If we could turn the voter turnout from 1 in 5 to 1 in 4, we win."
Some attribute this surge in youth voting to an increased awareness of gun violence and gun issues. Since the Parkland shooting in February, youth voter registration has surged in several battleground states.
David Hogg believes part of the reason gun violence resonates with young voters is because of how multi-faceted an issue it is.
"If you think about transgender gun violence, there's hate crimes that are involved there. If you think about, like, um, gun violence in inner cities, there's redlining and systemic poverty and racism that plays into that that our government has had a major role in throughout the years that we need to reconcile with and actually advocate to fix. … There's so many other issues that play into it that we can also work to fix, while we're fixing gun violence."
Hogg and many of his classmates from Parkland have recently turned their attention to the midterms and changing the historically low voter turnout amongst younger voters.
"Personally, I just want people to go out and vote on this issue. No matter who they are. And I hope that every organization would, like, ask for the same."