Ed's Blog

Youth vote surges in election

By Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

In case you missed it, the Student PIRG New Voters Campaign has a release explaining that "the youth share of the electorate increased to 19 percent in 2012 over 18 percent in 2008." The PIRGs helped register over 100,000 new voters in this cycle. Excerpt from their release: Youth Share of Electorate Rises Campus Precincts Post Turnout Increase:

“ According to preliminary results provided by local elections officials, turnout at many student-dominated precincts at campuses targeted by the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project this election cycle demonstrated significant increases in youth turnout over 2008.  [...] Despite the dire predictions of low youth turnout today, young people once again showed that when voter mobilization efforts pay attention to them, they show up on Election Day,” said Leigh-Anne Cole, Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project Director. 

Cole and a team of thousands of student leaders and full time organizers spearheaded an intensive voter mobilization drive on campus over the past several week to help register and urge students to the polls on Election Day.

Using scientifically-proven voter outreach and mobilization techniques such as peer-to-peer phonebanks and canvasses, text message outreach and classroom announcements, the campaign made more than 500,000 vote reminders in the days leading up to the election.  They also helped to register 100,000 young voters through a combination through an online-voting software application and pavement-pounding with registration forms attached to clipboards. 

“The best people to urge a young person to the poll is another young person,’ said Cole.  "Our campaign shows definitively that if you pay attention to young voters, they will pay attention to you."

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