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
A friendly reminder that voter registration deadlines are
upon us. If you live in