For immediate release: November 5, 2008
Contact: Sujatha Jahagirdar, (323) 309-6120
National Young Voter Turnout Increases by More than Two Million
[Washington, DC] Young voter turnout surged by at least 2.2 million votes over 2004 levels this election, according to new data released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
“Across the country, the excitement on college campuses this election cycle was palpable,” said Sujatha Jahagirdar, Program Director with the Student PIRGs New Voters Project. “That enthusiasm spilled into the ballot box this year.”
For the first time in twenty years, young voter share of the electorate also surpassed that of voters over 65, with young people making up 18 percent of the electorate and those over 65 making up 16 percent.
Several factors - from increased attention paid to young voters by candidates to the proliferation of technology in the lives of young voters to a rise in civic engagement among young people - contributed to this surge.
This year’s youth turnout marks the third significant increase in turnout in as many election cycles. In 2004, turnout rates increased among young voters by 11 percent, nearly three times the rate of the general population. In 2006, youth turnout increased by two million votes, while general turnout increased only slightly.
Young voter outreach efforts employed an array of tactics to mobilize young voters to the polls. On 100 campuses in 17 states, the Student PIRGs' New Voters Project combined old-fashioned pavement pounding with technology to reach the wired world of the young voter.
Students on campuses across the country stormed dorms, invaded classrooms and even staged guerrilla theater performances to urge young voters to the polls. They also employed a cadre of tech tools - from Facebook to ‘text out the vote’ tables to urge their friends to the polls.
“The primary lesson of this election is that when you pay attention to young people, they will turn out on Election Day,” concluded Jahagirdar.
# # #
The Student PIRGs' New Voters Project is the nation’s largest youth
voter mobilization program. Since 2004, we have registered more than
700,000 young people and made more than 650,000 peer to peer voter
turnout contacts to get young people to the polls on Election Day. Due
in large part to our efforts, the youth vote increased by 4.3 million
votes, or 9% in 2004 and an analysis of our work in 2006 found that in
the student dense precincts in which we worked with our allies, youth
voter turnout increased on average by 157%.
October 6, 2008
Last Registration Push Hits College Campuses
As voter registration deadlines arrive in 29 states this week, student leaders of the Student PIRGs' New Voters Project will hit campuses across the country in an effort to ensure unprecedented student registration rates this election cycle.
"Over 70 percent of young people who register to vote will show up on Election Day," said Sujatha Jahagirdar, Program Director for the project, the largest non-partisan on the ground effort to mobilize young voters this fall. "This last registration push is thus crucial to ensuring the voice of young people is heard this Election Day."
Efforts to chase down remaining unregistered students on campus range from old-fashioned pavement-pounding to creative tactics that build 'register to vote buzz' on campus.
At Ohio State University in Columbus student leaders will hold a '12 Hour Countdown' to today’s voter registration deadline - dozens of volunteers will be out on campus adorned with 'Flavor Flav' clocks will stop thousands of students on their way to ensure registration.
At the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, 50 volunteer student leaders will blanket campus armed with clipboards today to catch any last minute stragglers. The University of Colorado at Boulder will see a similar effort.
The Student PIRGs are running student voter mobilization efforts on 150 campuses in 24 states this fall. Campuses that will see a last push this week to register student voters include:
University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)
University of Colorado (Denver, CO)
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
University of Northern Colorado (Greeley, CO)
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
University of Southern Florida (Tampa, FL)
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)
Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
Arizona State University – West (Phoenix, AZ)
Northwestern University (Chicago, IL)
Meramec Community College (St Louis, MO)
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Green River Community College (Auburn, WA)
University of Montana (Missoula, MT)
# # #
The Student PIRGs' New Voters Project is the nation’s largest youth voter mobilization program. Since 2004, we have registered more than 600,000 young people and made more than 650,000 peer to peer voter turnout contacts to get young people to the polls on Election Day. Due in large part to our efforts, the youth vote increased by 4.3 million votes, or 9% in 2004 and an analysis of our work in 2006 found that in the student dense precincts in which we worked with our allies, youth voter turnout increased on average by 157%.