Can the Vote Still Rock?
Few of the folks ducking into voting booths around the country today to cast their ballots in local elections will be younger than 24-years old. Bringing us back to one of the standard conundrums of every election cycle: who can inspire the youth vote? Seventy-two percent of people 55 and older voted in the 2004 presidential election, compared with 47 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds.
So far, the presidential candidates have covered most of the youth voter outreach bases, with candidates from both parties signed up to appear on the MySpace/MTV instant messaging forum. They've also built Facebook pages, tapping into online student networks, and spoken at colleges and universities.
But the experts at Youth Voter PAC have some advice of their own to put the party back in the primaries.
The (relatively straightforward) tips include:
Throw a Party at the Polls. Bring food, music, signs, candidate lit, balloons, just about anything to make it fun and welcoming.
Create "Pledge to Vote" cards. Research (and common sense) tells us that if a young person "pledges" to vote they vote in higher numbers.
Do a bar crawl. You can also choose to do a coffee house crawl, an elementary school crawl, a supermarket crawl. Any place where young voters hang out in your targeted areas is where you want to send the candidate and a group of energetic volunteers.
For some wackier ideas check out: www.pinkbunnies.org, a site launched by a group of young voters in Montana. It's called Pink Bunnies because "we just liked the pink bunny logo and we figure there's nothing funnier than taking a weird joke too far."
Washington Post editors
November 6, 2007; 2:50 PM ET
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