By ELIZABETH DE ARMAS
Every four years, many Americans look forward to election season because they get to exercise their right to vote.
The Republican and Democrat national conventions, advertisements, commercials, presidential debates, and candidate signs on lawns are constantly being addressed by the media, which stirs up the electrifying election atmosphere.
However, the youth is never as excited for this time because most are uninterested, uninformed and uninvolved in politics. Needless to say, most of the youth, though many are registered to vote, don’t show up to the voting polls.
Though this is no secret, it is very unfortunate.
Browsing through the Internet, I came across Project Vote, a non-profit organization created in 1994, dedicated to empowering and educating the youth and other marginalized and under-represented voters.
In November 2009, Project Vote released a report on voter participation in 2008. The report included very insightful information about the percentage of the population the youth represents, and how disconnected they are when it comes to voting.
Even though voter participation has improved in recent years, youth still lag behind. The report revealed that youth made up only 17 percent of the actual voting population in 2008. If this isn’t bad enough, in November 2008, only 49 percent of the 3.7 million 18-year-old citizens were registered to vote.
It seems that most individuals under the age of 30 have very little or no interest in choosing the next U.S. president. While many programs are in place to encourage youth voting, it seems they think that registering is enough. But, it is not. Every vote can make a difference.
The statistics provided by Project Vote, although based on the 2008 elections, give insight into the upcoming election less than 40 days away. It may be possible that the 2012 youth voter turnout may increase, but unfortunately, it is not likely.
Project Vote continues to motivate under-represented voters to exercise their rights, and have a voice with several initiatives launched in states across the nation, including Florida.
Florida is a major battleground state and presidential candidates are neck and neck to win.
Project Vote is an extremely useful tool for citizens, candidates, campaign directors and journalists alike, to help analyze what can make or break a change in the voter turnout for the 2012 elections.