Election Connection

Is This The Year?

Every election cycle, pundits and campaigns speculate that this time around it will be young people who decide the election. And every election cycle in the past, despite the best efforts by nonprofit groups like Rock the Vote, the buzz doesn't yield significant results. But research and anecdotal evidence say 2008 could be different.

Rumors that the tide is turning from apathy to excitement among younger voters have been floating around the media for months now. David von Drehle's piece in Time magazine in January proclaimed 2008 the "Year of the Youth Vote" and record registration and turnout numbers for the primaries made it seem like maybe this will be the year that 18-24 year olds show  up at the polls.

If that's the case, then what is the most effective way to reach young people? 

This web video from Declare Yourself, which premiered last week, has a host of Hollywood stars telling people "don't vote." It takes a full two minutes into the video for the likes of Leonardo di Caprio and Halle Berry to get to the point of the film - "don't vote unless you care about..." a variety of issues, from health care to the war in Iraq. It reminded me of the controversial t-shirt campaign from 2004 that touted the slogan "Voting is for Old People".

Does irony work, or should there be a more straightforward message to get young people to the polls?

In a recent interview with NOW on PBS, Ian Rowe from MTV said he's seeing a real difference this year in get out the vote efforts.


"One, it's critical that we reach young voters on a variety of media platforms. From on-air to mobile to hosting forums with presidential candidates on MySpace, Choose or Lose has made it a point to reach young people everywhere they are, online and off."


But it's also how young voters connect with the issues that makes an impact.


"We're also approaching our efforts differently by wrapping ourselves around a core issue that's important to our audience. Recent MTV research found that nearly 70 percent of young people personally know someone who has fought in Iraq or Afghanistan. The war in Iraq and young veterans' issues are extremely important to the younger generation," Rowe told NOW on PBS.


A friendly reminder that voter registration deadlines are upon us. If you live in Ohio, Washington, DC, Virginia, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas or Utah today is your last day to register to vote.


vrb116 said:

I don't know that I agree that Hollywood actors complaining about people's complacency will spur younger voters into action. Voters are charged to make their mark in this year�s election, and it�s not because of Hollywood�s involvement. Instead, people are more concerned with the issues visible in their local communities and they are understanding more and more how voting in presidential and congressional elections makes a difference in their lives. Hollywood�s participation in elections has not proven to be successful in the past � or at least I challenge people in this forum to deliberate when and how Hollywood has had effectively rallied younger voters to participate in elections.

Furthermore, I believe it�s concerning that some in Hollywood think American�s are complacent about the issues of the day. In fact, I see people in all areas of this country participating in political conversations and striving to make a difference. What makes these actors think by faulting us for our indifference we will be MORE likely to vote.

By making this film, these actors have only motivated me not to see their movies.

AUDREY said:

The problem is it was only an issue after John McCain slipped in the polls. the chapter on Obama hasn't been written. My problem is, as long as the media is ripping Obama or reporting negatively on his campaign everything is fine. The minute any reporter worth a grain of salt start looking into this new comer he or she is a sexist or leaning towards Obama. Enough already report the facts and stop leaning. NO MORE NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING STOP THE SMEARS MCCAIN AND COME WITH WHAT YOU'RE GONNA DO FOR ME TO KEEP ME IN MY HOUSE, AND MAKE SURE MY JOB ISN'T SHIPPED OVER SEAS, BRING MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY HOME FROM A WAR THAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN WAGED, TELL ME WHAT YOU'RE GONNA DO TO MAKE SURE MY KIDS CAN GET INTO AN AFFORDABLE COLLEGE, WHAT ABOUT THIS NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT THAT IS LEAVING EVERY CHILD BEHIND UNLESS THEY GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. TELL ME ABOUT THAT STOP THIS MADNESS. NO MORE!!

Lyndsey Roby said:

John McCain misquoted Roosevelt.
The correct quote is
"Walk softly and carry a big stick."
"Talk softly..."
Also thiink it is ludicrous that McCain plans to take all the bad loans(whatever that is) and renegotiate the interest rate AND make the loan for the amount the house is WORTH, not what they owe.

And he thinks Obama will spend too much.

I think if you made a loan for more house than you can afford, then you need to get yourself out of trouble, not the US govt.

Alisha said:

Thank you, Lyndsey.. you hit it right on the head. If people bit off more than they can chew, they need to deal with the consequences of foreclosures and credit woes for their stupid decisions. As a responsible borrwoer, it shouldn't be up to me or anyone else that bought into what they could afford, to bail you out while you stay in your over-valued dwelling. That's your problem. Why should the government bring this country even further into debt for mass stupidity? And people need to stop pointing fingers at the lenders as the culprits. If you can't read the fine print, don't sign on the dotted line.

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