CHICAGO, November 4 – Young people are likely to participate more in Tuesday’s general election in the United States of America than they have done previously.
This follows numerous campaigns and mobilisation efforts by both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Kimberly Castle, a Democratic student mobiliser at the North Western University in Chicago says about 90 percent of student voters are expected to cast their ballot in the historical election.
“We’ve been going out sensitising students to ensure that they go to the polls and we have found out that most are really excited about this election,” she said.
“We also found that students are energised, I don’t know whether it is particularly due to this election.”
This, according to Professor Peter Miller, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University could benefit the Democrats because they have been more aggressive than their rivals in reaching out to the young voters.
“You will notice that the Obama website has features which look a lot like Facebook and Myspace. This was an intentional design on their part to draw into the process young people. And those young people between 18 and 29 years or so are thought by some or hoped by the Obama campaign to turn out more than they have in the past elections and if that guess is correct Obama will benefit from that turn out,” he said.
He noted that historically, young voters never turn out for elections in the numbers that are eligible to vote.
The President of College Republicans James D’Angelo on the other hand said the Republican campaign faced a setback when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate.
“I would say there are a handful of people in our campus that chose not to go for McCain despite being previous supporters because of his choice for Palin,” he told journalists.
He said those who defected from the McCain camp was because they saw Palin as inexperienced. Both student leaders were in agreement that the young voters didn’t go for their preferred candidate due to age but more because of the policies and especially on the economy.
However Professor Miller said some of the young voters expected to vote could fail to cast their ballot if the voting process is long and tedious.
“What happens is that if they stand in the line for a long time they go home without voting for their preferred candidate.”