Getting Young People to Cast Their Votes

Article excerpt

Barely a quarter of young people made it to the polls in the last midterm election, and that is just not right asserts Mary Jane McKittrick, author of Election Day, part of the Boomer and Halley children's book series.

"In school, we teach them about the Revolutionary War and all the wars our country has fought in order to protect our freedoms, so it doesn't make any sense to me why young people do so little to participate in the democracy they learn about in school. I'm not sure what happens when kids turn 18 and decide they don't need to vote, but I think it's a problem worth addressing."

Most midterm elections traditionally have drawn a mere 22% to 25% of voters aged 18-30, but that only tracks the number of registered voters, and does not tabulate the millions of young people who do not even bother to register to vote. According to the figures compiled by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., youth voting has been up slightly in presidential elections in recent years. In 2008, for instance, 51% of voters age 18-30 voted, up two percent from the 2004 elections.

"I believe that children need more than just a history lesson about democracy," emphasizes McKittrick, a former broadcast journalist. …