It is estimated
that the youth vote in the United States includes 30 million 18-to-30-year-olds
throughout the country. However, despite their large numbers, young
voters accounted for less than 4 percent of the entire voting population
in the 2000 elections. Mindful of the untapped potential of young voters,
a number of non-governmental organizations and political groups are
working actively to encourage their civic participation.
Many of these organizations define themselves as non-partisan, that
is, not belonging to or supporting any political party. Others, however,
may promote a particular political agenda. Following is a sample of
the more prominent organizations that seek to mobilize young voters.
Declare Yourself is a national non-partisan, non-profit campaign to
mobilize young voters to participate in the 2004 presidential election.
Declare Yourself is sponsoring a live spoken word and music tour of
college campuses; a nationwide voter education initiative for high school
seniors; a comprehensive election information Web site; an extensive
online awareness campaign; a massive voter registration drive; a televised
“get out the vote” concert; and public service announcements.
The New Voters Project
The New Voters Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated
increasing voter turnout among citizens age 18-24 on Election Day 2004.
The Project’s goal is to register more than 265,000 voters on
college campuses and other youth venues. It is concentrating its efforts
on six U.S. states — Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Mexico,
and Nevada — states that have high concentrations of young voters
in small geographic areas.
Republican National Committee
The College Republican National Committee is the nationwide coordinating
organization for the Republican youth movement. With over 120,000 members
on 1,148 college campuses, the Committee works for the election of Republican
candidates and the communication of a conservative message to college
Young Democrats of America
The Young Democrats of America is the official youth arm of the Democratic
Party and is open to anyone under the age of 36 who affiliates themselves
with the Democratic Party. The 43,000 members of the association include
high school students, college students, young workers, professionals
Smackdown Your Vote
Founded in July 2000, Smackdown Your Vote! is a non-partisan effort
to involve young people in the political process and to promote youth
voter registration. Smackdown Your Vote! is a collaboration between
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (formerly the World Wrestling Federation)
and several non-profit, non-partisan organizations that seek to mobalize
Campaign for Young Voters
Campaign for Young Voters is a nonpartisan, non-profit effort to engage
young voters by working with political candidates and campaign staff,
political party officials, political consultants, and grassroots organizations
on how to understand, communicate with and turn out younger voters on
The Youth Vote Coalition is a national, non-partisan coalition dedicated
to increasing political and civic participation among young people;
building an inclusive, accountable, and responsive government; and increasing
public awareness about the value of participation in democracy through
the electoral process.