Campaigns charm young voters
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 03:10
In recent election cycles the youth vote has been given increasing attention and is becoming increasingly important.
“There are a lot of different things [that appeal to the youth voters],” Matthew Henderson, director of communications at the Ohio Republican Party, said.
“From a state party level we have lots of different avenues for students to get involved,” he said. “[Such as] Facebook, Twitter and new applications that get them updates on what the campaign is doing from the ground level.”
Since Ohio is a swing state and one of the most important states in the election, both candidates have been making appearances at colleges throughout Ohio and holding rallies that appeal to youth voters.
“Ohioans are very spoiled in terms of the opportunities we get in choosing what candidate we want to vote for,” Henderson said. “Perhaps over the last couple of weeks almost every day a candidate or [affiliates] have been here in our state.”
Both candidates have been making an effort to appeal to the youth voters and increase youth voter participation during this election.
Harvard University did a recent study that showed since 2000 there has been a decrease in youth voters’ enthusiasm levels, Henderson said.
However, since 2010 there has been a continuing rise in enthusiasm and both presidential candidates have played a role in this increase, he said.
According to The Center For Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the youth voter turnout (ages 18-24) in the 2008 election was at 48.7 percent, a 1.8 percent increase from 2004.
The youth vote is crucial and many people said they believe this election will have an even higher turnout.
“I think it’s important for us to vote because we had such a large turnout in 2008 and we can’t not be active,” Laura Kretz, Miami University College Democrats president, said. “We can’t just be one time voters. We need to have our voice heard.”
Since Republican vice president hopeful, Paul Ryan, is a Miami alum and Barack Obama is a young president, both parties have appealed specifically to the youth voters at Miami and have made campus an exciting place for politics, Kretz said.
Both College Democrats and College Republicans have been holding voter registration drives throughout the semester and are now trying to get students to the polls.
Students also have the ability to volunteer at one of the local Obama or Romney campaign offices.
Youth voter participation is so important in this elelction, Kretz said.
“We’re inheriting this country and its problems,” Kretz said. “It’s really the truth. All these issues that we’re discussing now are affecting us. We’re talking about education, health care…there are so many issues that affect us currently not even 20 years from now.”
Another crucial issue to youth voters is unemployment, Baylor Myers, chairman of College Republicans, said.
“I think especially college students when [they are] pouring time, money and resources into obtaining a degree and then graduating and then finding themselves unemployed is incredibly problematic,” he said. “Your future depends on it, literally.”
However, not all efforts to increase youth voter participation have come entirely from the parties themselves. Wednesday Oct. 24, singer Katy Perry held a concert in the battleground state of Nevada to support President Barack Obama.