Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Election Day Brings out Youth Involvement

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Election Day Brings out Youth Involvement

Article excerpt

Twenty million youth aged 18 to 29 voted in this year's presidential election.

The turnout rate rose from about 42 percent to 52 percent, according to figures from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

"This is phenomenal," said CIRCLE Director William A. Galston. "It represents the highest youth turnout in more than a decade."

In the 10 battleground states, youth voter turnout was 64 percent, increasing 13 percent from the 2000 election.

Many election analysts credit the increased youth vote to various campaigns by youth and youth advocates to get young people revolved in the political process.

Youth were targeted in various radio, television and print ads urging them to register and vote.

In addition, outreach campaigns were implemented by individual youth and youth-serving organizations alike. (See article in the October 11,2004, issue of Nation's Cities Weekly.)

Youth at the Polls

In Washington, D.C., youth who were not old enough to vote were recruited to work at the polls on election day. The Board of Elections trained 16- and 17-year-old students to work at polling stations for a $50 stipend, or in exchange for community service hours.

"Our goal is to build future voters and poll workers," said Public Information Director, Bill O'Field. "So far, we have gotten positive feedback from students."

The program, started in 2002, allows students to work any position at the polling center, as long as they have completed the required training.

A similar program began this year in Chicago. In October, 786 Chicago high school seniors attended two weekend classes to tram as election judges. This was the largest number of high school students to serve as election judges in Chicago.

Youth as Candidates

In addition to voting, youth took interest in running for public office. …

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