Voter Registration Drive Aims to Get Young People Enthused

Two years ago, voters aged 18 to 29 turned out at a rate unseen since 1972. Another election is just 33 days away, but this time many young voters plan not to vote.

Over the past decade, the youth vote has become a potent force in American politics. A vast majority of young people vote democratic. It may be no coincidence Washington is now controlled by democrats, but for that to continue, young voters have to keep turning out.

On college campuses up and down the sunshine state, a massive voter registration drive is on. It's being conducted by the Florida Public Interest Research Group. And while it may be a non-partisan effort, the more young people who are registered, the better democrats may fare come election day.

That's important because polls indicate we could be on the verge of a republican 'wave' election, driven by voters who aren't happy with Congress or President Obama. By and large, democrats who turned out in 2008 aren't nearly as enthusiastic about turning out this time around.

That's why the drive is trying to get students engaged on the issues, like health care reform - a key democratic priority. Organizers are passing out booklets detailing exactly how the law benefits young people.

“In 2008, a lot of students got involved then,” said PIRG campus organizer Katryn Fraher. “And they're going to continue to be involved; they're not going to just drop it off. Yes, you're going to see a lesser number than in the presidential election, but there's a lot more students involved than in 2006.”

Historically, getting young people to vote, especially in a mid-term election, has been quite the challenge. It may be even more so now, given that the man who drove the youth vote in 2008, Barack Obama, isn't on the ballot.

The PIRG student voter project launched in 2006. Organizers say in targeted precincts, youth turnout increased an average of 157 percent.


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