The Millennial Voters

College Democrats of America, the college arm of the Democratic National Committee held their 2006 Convention in St. Louis, Missouri this past weekend. Chairman Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Governor Vilsack and General Wesley Clark were among the many speakers in Missouri, where students received trainings by DNC staffers in voter contact, fundraising, event planning and GOTV. I was lucky enough to attend convention with my fellow Pennsylvania College Democrats.

In 2004 young people truly did “rock the vote”, according to a University of Maryland research institute, CIRCLE, which estimated that “at least 20.9 million 18 to 29-year olds voted on November 2--nearly 4.6 million more than in 2000, when only 16.3 million turned out to vote”. Because of this, candidates in the midterm elections are looking to capture the votes of young people across the country through new media like Facebook and MySpace. Last week, The Washington Post’s Zachary A. Goldfarb had a fairly decent article about youth voter turnout in which he said the youth vote is generally left-leaning, but acknowledges that it is not necessarily the Democrats to keep.

In the past, politicians have seemed to overlook the youth vote, complaining that voter turnout for young people has been entirely too low. The 2004 election was a clear indication that 18-20-somethings were ready for elected officials to hear their voices and ideas. Politicians use of such new media like Facebook and text messaging, goes hand in hand with NPI’s toolbox of political ideas for 2006. If politicians begin re-shaping the way they reach out to voters, it is likely that the youth vote will continue to improve in the coming elections. Check out Peter Leyden's article on the Millennial Generation for more information.

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