Turning Out the Youth
By Jose Antonio Vargas
It's that time of the campaign season again. Except this time, as with anything to do with Campaign '08, the worry over youth voter turnout started . . . in the primary season.
"Young voters have historically had low turnout during the primaries," former congressman Jim Leach told The Trail. "We need to focus on that."
Last week Leach, now head of Harvard's Institute of Politics, helped launch No Vote, No Voice, a one-stop-shop online hub for young voters. The site encourages high school and college-age students to register to vote, get informed through youth-operated sites, such CampusVoices, and add a Facebook application inviting their FFs, aka Facebook Friends, to pledge to vote.
"It's impressive how the big issues of this election are disproportionately youth-oriented," said Leach, the Iowa Republican who served in Congress for more than 30 years. "If on the table is war, it's young people who are asked to go to war. If on the table are deficits, it's young people that have to pay them back in the entirety of their working careers. If on the table is climate change, we may be in the last decade of normality."
'Tis the season of targeting the youth vote. Outside of campaigns organizing their supporters on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, social networks popular among college students and high schoolers, new youth-oriented sites, such as VoteGopherand Scoops08, keep popping up. Scoop08 is basically an online newspaper written and edited by young people for young people; VoteGopher, created by Will Ruben, a Harvard student, is an issue-focused site operated by Harvard students.
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