Conn. Secretary of State Using Technology to Reach Young Voters

According to a new study ... in 2008 young people (18-31) will number 50 million, which is bigger than the baby boom generation, and by 2015 they will likely comprise one third of the U.S. electorate.

by / August 24, 2007

Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is posting new instructional videos for using optical scan ballots and the vote-by-phone system on her office's Web site and making them available for download onto personal recording devices, including iPODs.

"In today's world it's difficult to reach voters, especially younger ones, unless you're using the same technology they use," said Bysiewicz. "So, I took a cue from my teenage children and decided we'd produce videos that people could download, and then watch when and where they want."

The 90 second instructional videos have been produced in both English and Spanish and can be found at the Secretary of the State's Web site as well as YouTube. Bysiewicz is encouraging people to circulate the videos through Facebook and other social networking services.

In addition, the Secretary of the State's office is mailing nearly 800 copies -- one for each polling place in Connecticut -- to registrars of voters across the state. The registrars are encouraged to play the videos at the entrance of every polling place in their city or town.

Heather Smith, Executive Director of Rock the Vote, said "We applaud the secretary for working to get voter registration and voting information into young voters' hands. Given the recent rise in young voter turnout -- both here in Connecticut and nationwide -- it's clear today's young voters are eager to get involved in elections, and providing voting information through a familiar mechanism like the iPod is a great way to encourage young voter turnout to continue to grow."

Lon Seidman, of the Connecticut Young Democrats said, "Young voters, especially those between 18 and 25, consume media in a dramatically different way than even their slightly older peers. The Connecticut Young Democrats applaud Secretary of the State Bysiewicz's effort to reach out to young voters with this new medium so they can be prepared for the changes we will see on Election Day."

Jason Perillo, President of the Connecticut Young Republicans said, "Anything that's going to get young people to the polls is a worthwhile endeavor... and hopefully this effort will give young people the information they need to cast their vote in November."

According to a new study from Young Voter Strategies and Rock the Vote, in 2008 young people (18-31) will number 50 million, which is bigger than the baby boom generation, and by 2015 they will likely comprise one third of the U.S. electorate.

Even today, the youth vote has the potential to impact many races, especially those which are very competitive. In 2006 there were 18 U.S. House races -- two in Connecticut -- decided by fewer than 5,000 votes. In addition there were 77 legislative races decided by fewer than 100 votes.

According to the authors of the Young Voter Mobilization Tactics, Lessons from 2006 House and Statewide Campaigns, from The George Washington University, "Young voters can certainly make or break close races today, but they will also be each party's base voters 15 or 20 years from now... Investment in young voters now pays off in the long run."