There's a disease affecting young voters. Its name? Apathy.
The 1972 election was the first time people 18 and over could vote. That
year, 50% of 18- to 24-year-olds cast ballots, according to
American Demographics magazine. But during the
last presidential election, that number had fallen to a low of 32%.
"The chief reason that young voters give for not voting is that they think
nobody is listening to them," said Jack Doppelt, author of Nonvoters :
America's No-Shows and associate professor of journalism at Northwestern
University. "And coupled with that, they don't think politicians come
through on what they say."
That's why Doppelt and his co-author, Northwestern University professor
Ellen Shearer, helped launch Yvote2000 (site no longer available). The site
tries to get young adults involved in campaigns through polls and news.
Yvote2000 also provides online voter registration.
Other sites are devoted to finding an antidote to young voter apathy, too.
Rock the Vote was founded 10 years ago to fight
censorship and promote First Amendment rights. Today it tries to get young
people involved in civics by offering voter registration, discussion boards
and activism links.
MTV's Choose or Lose campaign (site no longer available)
introduces the issues and covers the campaign from a youth perspective.
Will these sites have an effect on the outcome of the election? Doppelt
doesn't think so. "I think they're doing all they can, but young people in
particular are not using the Internet for political connections," he said.
--- M. Magnarelli
Note: Some links in this article are no longer available. We apologize for