Young voters are mobilized

By By Heather Berg

By Heather Berg

It has long been a myth that college-age people do not care about elections and will always vote in low numbers. Typically, politicians do not spend as much time focusing on the younger population as they do the older generations due to these fixed beliefs. These politicians don’t understand that this election is ours.

The younger generation of the United States has become more involved with politics and campaigns over the past twenty years through volunteer activities. They are more interested in person-to-person contact instead of typical, one-way advertisements. This is key because personal contact is the most effective way to register voters and ensure they make it to the polls on election day. According to recent studies conducted by the University of Michigan and Princeton University on engaging young voters, text messages have a 4 to 5 percent increased mobilization effect, phone calls have a 4 to 5 percent increase, door-to-door have a 7 to 9 percent increase, leafleting has a 1 to 2 percent increase and direct mail has about a 0.6 percent increase.

With each mobilization effort, the cost to create it increases quite a bit. For example, each text message costs $1.56 per vote, and to get the same effect with direct mail would cost about $67. Text messaging is the least expensive and one of the most effective ways to get out the vote. Next time you get caught text messaging in class, just let your teacher know that you are getting out the vote in the most efficient way possible. Maybe it will work.

Many young people are apprehensive about trying to mobilize people. They are worried about bugging people or receiving rejection. But for those who are genuinely concerned about elections and what happens in the political sphere, it is a fear to overcome.

Some rejection is almost certain, but once an individual is contacted more than twice, his or her chance of voting increases to over 80 percent, according to the universities’ studies.

So bug away. Get that primary visibility out. Get involved in tabling, petitioning, class presentations, rallies, educational forums and service events. Everyone might not agree on the same candidate, but there is something we can agree on, and that is younger people’s participation in politics. It is, in part, the future of the country that affects the future of our lives. Don’t be afraid to get involved. Let’s see more effort from U students. Our actions are more powerful than we understand.

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Editor’s Note8212;Heather Berg, the president of the U College Republicans, recently traveled to Cambridge, Mass., along with four other U students courtesy of the Hinckley Institute of Politics to take part in the National College Conference for Political Engagement at Harvard University from Sept. 19 to Sept. 21.

Heather Berg