Candidates and Other Organizations Make Moves to Get Youth to Vote

Going to see the latest movie release: $7.00.  Getting intothe hottest party in town: $10.00.  Heading to the shoppingmall for new shoes:$30.00.  Buying a calculus textbook offebay to do homework: $50.00. Registering to vote in theupcoming presidential election: priceless.

As today’s youth ventures into their so-called busy and hecticworld, somehow the issue of voting is coming across more and moreof their minds.  A poll conducted in June by HarvardUniversity Institute of Politics said that 58 percent of peoplebetween the ages of 18 and 25 said they planned to vote in theupcoming presidential election compared to 48 percent in the 2000presidential election.

Psychology major Ashaley Davis commits in saying, “As I flipthrough the channels to find something to watch, I am bombardedwith voting campaigns targeted towards getting me to vote.”

Both President Bush and his democraticchallenger, Senator John Kerry, had their young adult daughterscampaigning with them to appeal to the younger voters.  Theyboth have also added more college campuses to theirtours. 

In addition, the Republican and Democraticpolitical parties have taken diverse measures to try to round upthe youth vote.  Republican National Committees have taken an18-wheel tractor-trailer and equipped it with a sound stage,computer, and video games.


The tractor-trailer, named “Reggie theRegistration Rig” has traveled more than 14,000 miles in itscross-country voter registration tour.

On the other side, the Democratic NationalCommittee teamed up with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, andtransgender caucus of the College Democrats of America to establish”Pride at the Polls,” which sets out to educate and register votersto help elect Democrats to all levels of government.

Other organizations as well who generallytarget the youth, took big steps to get more to register and tovote.  MTV, for instance, with its “Rock the Vote” campaignhoped to register 20 million new young voters. 

“I think it’s good that everyone is trying toget involved in getting the youth to vote.  We make up thiscountry as well,” say freshmen Sierra Cary-Brown, a registeredvoter. 

According to a Newsweek GENext poll, 8 out of10 young voters say that the outcome of this presidential electionmatters to them.  Marketing major Charisse Bullock agrees withthe poll, “This election is extremely important to me, especiallywith all of the controversy that surrounded the last presidentialelection.  I realize now that every vote does count includingmy own.” 

She points at the Howard University School ofBusiness sign and continues, “After all, us youth will be the onesrunning this country pretty soon.”


  • Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan, nonprofitproject, formed in 1990.  The group puts together voterregistration drives, get-out-the-vote events, and voter educationprograms.

  • Freedom’s Answer is a nonprofit projectfounded in 2002.  The project’s goal is to help youth leadersregister students in more than 10,000 high schools across theUnited States.

  • Voter Virgin is an organization that tries tocreate an atmosphere that is fun in order to inspire first-timevoters to vote.  Its slogan is “Everybody’s doing it in’04.”

  • Involver, along with Music for America arepartisan, political nonprofit organizations that hope to motivate amillion voters, and 10,000 campaigners through national concertseries, youth education, and peer-to-peer movements.

  • Declare Yourself is a nonpartisan, nonprofitproject, sponsoring a national tour of spoken word and live musicto promote voter registration.The group also has produced a seriesof and humorous celebrity PSA ads challenging youth.

  • Generation GOP, described as a grassrootsnetwork of conservative youth, supplements its college and minorityrecruitment programs with absentee ballot voting and an onlinebulletin board.

  • Citizen Change, founded by hip-hop mogul Sean”P. Diddy” Combs, hopes to rally 20 million new young urban voterswith concerns for health care and education.  This year’stheme is “Vote or Die.”

  • Punx for Democracy, originally Punx for Dean,says to have mobilized 19,000 young voters, and says, “voting onceevery four years and sticking to party lines is not enough.

  • The Conservative Punk website providesarticles, commentaries, and links to the “Independent Punk BlogNetwork,” a collection of combative bulletin boards renouncingliberal/left punk bands and publications.

  • Gay Youth Unity Project is a website run byteens.  This organization is not exclusively a voterorganization, but does encourage visitors to register to voteonline.