In an effort that builds upon the enthusiastic participation of young voters during the recent presidential primary season, a coalition of higher education associations have launched the National Campus Voter Registration Project (NCVP), a nationwide nonpartisan campaign to register, educate and motivate college students to vote in the national election this November.
The project is a collaboration by 50 national higher education associations to assist the nation’s 3,700 colleges and universities in sparking voter education and registration efforts for the 2008 election.
As the NCVP gets underway, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) is reporting that a record 6.5 million citizens under the age of 30 participated in the 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses, according to data released this past Friday. CIRCLE says that the turnout is the first time the youth vote has increased in three consecutive election cycles since 1971 when the voting age was lowered to 18.
“This primary season, the Millennials have gone to the polls in record numbers, showing they are an influential voting bloc in American politics. They realize what’s at stake and the impact this election will have on their future and the future of our country,” says Dr. Peter Levine, the director of CIRCLE, which is based at the University of Maryland.
Leaders of the NCVP say they have been encouraged by the youth vote in 2008, particularly among those attending college, and believe it will reach yet another record high during the November general election. Earlier this year, CIRCLE found that 79 percent of the 18 to 29 year old voters during the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5 had attended college.
“Civic awareness and voter engagement is on the rise on campuses across the country. If the momentum continues through the party conventions and into the fall, the student vote will not only hit a record high but it could determine our next president,” says Dr. David L. Warren, the president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
In support of the NCVP, officials have unveiled the Your Vote, Your Voice Web site, www.YourVoteYourVoice.org, for interested students. The site directs visitors to review state-by-state details on voter registration and voter education and participation activities. The project is co-chaired by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).
“This voter registration project further instills in our students a commitment to the democratic process, which ultimately contributes to the betterment of society. Research provides ample evidence that youth who attend college are more likely to vote; to work full-time for or contribute financially to nonprofits; and to be involved in community service and volunteer activities,” says Dr. Richard Ekman, the president of Council of Independent Colleges.
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