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New Media, New Voters

A variety of initiatives have attempted to use new technologies and Internet-based strategies to encourage higher levels of public participation in elections. Our work attempts to assess how effective those efforts have been. 


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  • Commentary: Young Voters Unite
    Although the numbers are still preliminary, it is safe to say that young people turned out in high levels to vote on Tuesday with at least 2.2 million more young people going to the polls than in 2004. Just how much their participation rose over 2004 is what the official number tally will tell us when it’s released in the coming weeks. CIRCLE estimates that the increase ranges anywhere from 1 to 6 percentage points. At an increase of 6 percentage points, it would be the second highest young voter turnout since 1972 (55.4%).
    Nov 6, 2008
  • In an election cycle that witnessed an increase in young voter turnout across the country during the primaries, Rock the Vote (RTV) predicts that young voters will turn out in such high numbers in four states in November that their votes will impact the outcome of those states’ elections. The four states RTV predicts will feel the greatest impact of young voters are Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado and Ohio. As a forthcoming report by Common Cause and The Century Foundation, details, of the many young voters out there, a significant number of them are also student voters, who too often must confront unique obstacles to voting.
    Sep 10, 2008
  • More than 6.5 million Americans under the age of 30 voted in the 2008 presidential primaries. Time Magazine and other prominent publications dubbed 2008 The Year of the Youth Vote. Political commentators and analysts have argued that the surge in the youth vote and its virtually unwavering support for Barack Obama was a key factor behind the Senator's ascent to prominence and his ultimate victory in securing his spot as the Democratic nominee for president.
    Aug 5, 2008
  • The panel addressed a host of issues in the 2008 election that may have made it difficult for segments of the youth vote to participate in the electoral process.
    Jul 30, 2008
  • Before the historic 2008 presidential election, Century Foundation fellow, Tova Wang considered several ways that young voters may find themselves blocked from voting.
    Jul 30, 2008
  • The panel addressed a host of issues in the 2008 election that may have made it difficult for segments of the youth vote to participate in the electoral process.
    Jul 30, 2008
  • The panel addressed a host of issues in the 2008 election that may have made it difficult for segments of the youth vote to participate in the electoral process.
    Jul 30, 2008
  • Have you heard? The Obama campaign has set up a web site to empower its supporters to combat false information circulating about the candidate and his wife. This promises to shed light on the PR conundrum as to whether publicity douses misinformation or sends it rocketing onward.
    Jun 30, 2008
  • While young voters have been treated as the news phenomenon of the 2008 elections, the reality is that they have been participating in elections at higher rates since 2000. This upward trend in youth participation runs contrary to the media’s assertion that the engagement has been driven by the Obama campaign; Ben Adler pointed this out in an article in Politico a couple weeks ago.
    Apr 14, 2008
  • Since February 19, the Texas secretary of state Web site has been posting daily tallies of the early voting in the Lone Star State’s primary, which will occur next Tuesday. The data report vote totals by party in the fifteen largest counties.
    Mar 2, 2008
  • Lost in all the hullabaloo about Super Tuesday, then the Potomac Primary, and now “Mini Tuesday” on March 4, is the extraordinary experiment in online voting conducted by Democrats Abroad. Although the voting took place from February 5 to February 12, the organization just recently reported the results, and they were impressive.
    Feb 26, 2008
  • The financial disclosure reports of the presidential candidates for the year 2007 and January 2008 contain important news for the professional political community: online small donors have arrived in force. After a decade of brilliant flashes, including, most recently, the “money bomb,” millions sent to Ron Paul, internet fundraising has been turned into a steady flame. In 2008,Barack Obama’s campaign received more than one million dollars every day, from a network of givers about to welcome its one millionth member.
    Feb 20, 2008
  • Early voting by mail, despite its drawbacks (easier fraud, voters not becoming fully informed before selecting candidates, the inability to correct a ballot if it has been filled out with any error or omission, and so on), is growing exponentially and will likely continue to do so.
    Jan 30, 2008
  • As Super Tuesday approaches, more than a few undecided voters may take one of those interactive quizzes to see which candidate most closely matches their own views.
    Jan 27, 2008
  • In the Nevada caucuses, Hillary Clinton won the Hispanic vote, 64 percent to 26 percent, over Barack Obama, while Obama won the black vote, 83 percent to 15 percent, over Clinton. This stark differential in candidate preferences among America’s two largest minority groups is the culmination of a trend that has been emerging for some time.
    Jan 22, 2008
  • On Saturday, Nevada, a state with a substantial number of low-income Latino workers, will have a caucus. The plans to hold the Nevada caucus early sounded, at first, like a recipe for disaster. Nevada recently has had exceptionally low voter turnout, and as I have discussed before in print and on the airwaves, caucuses are a terrible way to conduct a presidential nominating contest.
    Jan 16, 2008
  • Saturday, January 19, will be a historic day. For the first time in American history, Latinos will have a major voice in picking the presidential nominees. For the first time, the state of Nevada, with a large Latino population, will hold an early and therefore influential caucus.
    Jan 15, 2008
  • On Saturday, for the first time in presidential nominating history, a state with a large Latino population, Nevada, will have its voice heard early in the contest. Latinos comprise one-fourth of the eligible voter population in the state and make up 13 percent of the registered electorate. As we have pointed out before, throughout the country Latinos comprise a growing percentage of both eligible and registered American voters, increasing their potential impact on this year’s primary and general elections.
    Jan 13, 2008
  • We have seen several experiments in old media/new media debate format fusion, and we will probably see more before the election. But last Saturday’s ABC/Facebook mash-up of a televised debate and an online chatfest occurred at a special moment in the presidential contest.
    Jan 7, 2008
  • While 2007 was not an election year, there was plenty of action in the voting world nonetheless. This was the year that finally saw the myth of voter fraud at the polling place revealed for what it is and has been: an excuse to pass laws that would exclude some groups of voters from the process. Unlike many other policy areas, this was one area where the power of Congress was in full view, as committees publicly called out many of the biggest actors in the disenfranchisement business. And at the highest levels, some heads rolled.
    Dec 23, 2007
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