LONDON – Britain has had a decisive vote every year for the past three years — a pace that may have led to voting fatigue among some Britons, but certainly not among the young.
In fact, it looks like they are just getting started.
Early polls suggested that youth turnout in Thursday's general election had vastly increased compared with previous ones. Although official data won't be available for days, estimates put the turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds more than 20 percentage points higher than in the previous four elections since 2001, in which only 40 percent of that age group cast ballots.
Many of the constituencies with significantly higher turnout were university towns. Overall turnout remained largely the same, suggesting that there were fewer older voters than anticipated.
Several issues might have attracted younger Britons to voting booths, including May's willingness to weaken human rights laws to combat terrorism, or accusations that she failed to react to students' fears over their loans.
But the single most decisive issue for younger Britons in this election might date back one year. To some, the early numbers suggest that younger Britons wanted to revisit their country's decision last year to leave the European Union.
After the June referendum, there was widespread sentiment among British youth that older voters had in some ways betrayed the country's younger generation. Young, urban Britons especially rely on the E.U. for study or work abroad, and they overwhelmingly voted to remain.
"One of the reasons why youth turnout was so high this time is that young people recognized how important the decision to leave the European Union really was," said Rhammel Afflick of the British Youth Council.
"And young people finally also realized that they could really influence the outcome of the election," he said.
Younger voters may have hoped that voting for the Labour Party would at least lead to a softer exit.
Polls suggested that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn did particularly well among youth voters. Prime Minister Theresa May is perceived as pursuing a much clearer separation from the E.U.
"Young people are really starting to get behind politics," said Alex Cairns, 21. He recently graduated from college and launched a campaign called Youth Vote UK to engage 18- to 24-year-olds. He said that a lot of young people were fired up about Corbyn — sometimes described as Britain's Bernie Sanders — whom they view as an authentic, decent leader who stands apart from other politicians.
"He's honest; people like him. He doesn't wear expensive suits," Cairns said.
"Young Britons aren't convinced Brexit can be reversed, but they definitely want a much softer Brexit than the hard one May wanted a mandate for," said Felix Marquardt, founder of the Youthonomics think tank and of Get Gone!, which encourages Britons to study in other E.U. countries.
"Brexit is the absolute hijacking of a generation by their elders, so it played a big role," he said.