Thousands of younger voters have registered to vote in advance of this Tuesday’s presidential primaries.
The vast majority of the nearly 45,000 of new voters, under the age of 30, registered as Democrats.
The party breakdown of new registrations for voters under 30-years-old from Jan. 1, 2016, to April 21, 2016, reflect Democrat: 23,964; Republican: 8,387; Unaffiliated: 12,238.
To participate in Tuesday’s primary, voters must be registered as a Democrat or Republican voter. Unaffiliated or new voters have until noon Monday to register with a party to participate, but can only do so by registering in person at the Registrar of Voters office in their hometown.
In total, more than 45,000 people under age 30 have registered to vote in Connecticut in 2016.
With presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle scrambling for every possible delegate, Connecticut’s relatively small numbers may have an outsized importance as the campaigns race toward their summer conventions.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trying to hang on to her lead against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose Wall Street-bashing campaign proved surprisingly durable and his appeal to younger voters undeniable.
On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump is seeking a statewide sweep over competitors Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Between January and April 21, 39,179 people ages 18 to 29 years old registered to vote, according to figures compiled from Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office. The next largest age group was the 21,521 voters between the ages of 40 and 44. Of those age 45 to 59, only 12,788 are new registrants.
Typically around two-thirds of all new voters registered online. An additional 6,064 people under the age of 18 also registered in 2016. Seventeen-year-old voters who turn 18 before the general election are allowed to register to vote and participate in the primary.
“Of new voters who registered in 2016, people under 30-years-old are the largest group,” Merrill said. “These are young people who we hope will make a lifelong habit of participating in our democracy. This is exciting and there is nothing like competitive races to get people engaged.”