Young voters’ numbers spiked in November

Before 2014, seniors were the largest age group of voters because of their high turnout. That changed dramatically in November. While the number of older voters stayed about the same, twice as many young adults ages 25 to 34 voted as in 2010.

Ages
18 to 24

25 to 34

35 to 44

45 to 54

55 to 64

65 and over

Was marijuana legalization a factor?

The D.C. referendum on legalizing marijuana (Initiative 71) was a likely key to the young-voter surge. The more young people voting in a precinct, the higher was the support for marijuana legalization. A precinct map showing the proportion of the total vote cast by young voters is almost identical to a map shown for those who voted for marijuana.

Share of voters ages 25 to 34

Share of voters for Initiative 71

  • Bottom quartile
  • Top quartile

Share of voters ages 25 to 34

Share of voters for Initiative 71

Voters from black neighborhoods became a minority

African Americans have been a dominant political voice since the District began electing its mayor and council members in the 1970s. Their declining role reflects population and turnout shifts.

Primary election

General election

SOURCE: Washington Post analysis of voting history and U.S. Census Bureau data. The race of voters was estimated using the racial makeup of precincts. Marijuana legalization was approved by such a large margin that it probably would have passed even without the young-voter surge.