Home > B2, Learning > Young Adults Rock the VOTE

Young Adults Rock the VOTE

Over the past trimester in Government class, there has been a strong emphasis placed on the importance of voting.  In particular, we have discussed the value of getting young adults excited about the upcoming election because a strong, young voter turnout can make or break a candidate’s run for the presidency.  In 2008, a record-breaking 52% of Americans (ages 18-29) participated in the presidential election (Knight Foundation).  President Obama targeted young voters by creating music videos, campaign commercials, and campaign advertisements that included popular singers, actors, and sports figures.  President Obama credits this young vote as a key factor in the success of his 2008 presidential nomination.  However, now there is concern that the 2012 election will not draw a strong young adult vote because President Obama has not fulfilled many of his original campaign promises.  As a young adult, I feel strongly that the United States cannot let this happen.  It becomes vitally important to identify ways to motivate young adults to take part in the election process.  I have become very interested in the different vehicles that are being utilized to target these young Americans.  Obviously, social media sites, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, are key aspects of reaching out and communicating to this population.  However, the ideas for encouraging young voters have broadened beyond the use of just these forms of social media.

In 2012, MTV, Knight Foundation and several other organizations joined together to create a new game, Fantasy Election, modeled after Fantasy Football, which is a hugely popular game among young adults.  According to the CEO of Knight Foundation, “It’s a fantasy game but the stakes couldn’t be higher.  If a fun format, competitive prizes, and credible information give young people the habit of engagement in civic life, it will be a big win.”  This interactive game will provide players with a “team” of presidential, Senate, and House candidates to play each week against others in a league similar to fantasy sports.  Players at all levels are encouraged throughout the game to register and vote.  Fantasy Election, through a fun process, provides education and encouragement towards the participation of young adult voters.  MTV’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Jason Rzepka, states, “The paramount objective of the game is to get young people to register to vote” (CNNTech).

Celebrity influence is another avenue in encouraging young adults to fulfill their civic duty of voting.  One such example is an organization, Rock the Vote, that targets young voters under the age of 25.  This organization was originated in 1990 in response to an often heard complaint: my vote doesn’t matter and my voice isn’t heard.  The primary goal of Rock the Vote is motivating young Americans to register to vote and to immerse themselves in the entire election process.  Since its origination, Rock the Vote has enrolled more than five million teens as voters.  Celebrities, such as The Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, and Madonna, are mouthpieces for this organization.  Their celebrity status provides the necessary attention that draws young adults into this critical process.  Rock the Vote has joined with MTV in developing public service announcements and a YouTube page where such celebrities can address political matters.  Facebook and Twitter are both partnered with Rock the Vote and this incites interest in regards to upcoming elections.  According to the President of Rock the Vote, Heather Smith, “The candidate that figures out how to address the issues and frustrations of young Americans in a meaningful way is going to earn their vote in 2012” (First Take).  Rock the Vote joined together with several clothing manufacturers and created a “#ScantoVote social media powered QR Code t-shirt” (Huffington Post).  This t-shirt, in conjunction with a smart phone, will provide an easy method of registering to vote, which is the first step in getting young adults to exercise their voice in an election.

“If we as [MTV] can get young citizens when they’re 18 and when they’re 22, they are a long way on their to being active and informed participants in our democracy from now on” (CNNTech).  CNNTech claims that if we can inspire young men and women to vote as soon as legally possible, they will grow to be more active participants in the election process.  Young voters have the power to decide the next President and those to come.

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  1. catec5
    May 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Your post is really well written. You provided extra detail that was not covered in class, and gave enough information that would get readers interested in the organizations. You could elaborate more on the quote you ended the post with.

  2. govlaurenc
    May 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Sara, this is really good! I like how you give many examples of organizations and also describe how it is critical for all voters to participate. I would advise for you to elaborate on and find specific examples that prove voter participation is greatly beneficial and its positive effects on elections.

  3. govsamk13
    May 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Sara, this was very well written. You gave good examples of how workers of the Political Media are trying to get young citizens to vote and pay more attention to elections. You could also give an example of ways a Candidate has tried to get youth involved. Although you mentioned Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” 2008 Campaign, you could elaborate more on how he used younger citizens as the center/target of his campaign (like we studied in Voter Participation). For example, the campaign director created a music video of celebrities singing repeatedly, “Yes We Can”. Which inspired young citizens that relate to these celebrities.

  4. May 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    This is terrific, Sara!

    I wonder about the applications for Parish’s GOV class in years to come: should we play Fantasy Election? Could we use/share QR t-shirts?? Could Parish students volunteer with Rock the Vote???

    What do you think?

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