Bad Habits from America's Youth
by Matt Stoller, Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 09:40:39 AM EDT
Apparently, young people are developing a dangerous new addiction, this time to a perilous activity known by its street name as 'voting'.
An analysis of raw data by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland indicates that young people voted in bigger numbers in the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia in 2005, than they did in 2001. The number of votes cast in precincts with a high concentration of college students increased by an average of 15.1 percent above the 2001 election in Virginia, and by an average of 19.9 percent above the 2001 election in New Jersey.
This news out of New Jersey and Virginia comes on the heels of data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau that found turnout among 18-24 year olds in the 2004 presidential election increased 11 percentage points over the 2000 election, and more than doubled the turnout increase of all other age groups (which only increased by four percentage points).
Youth turnout increased more than any other democraphic group in 2004 and 2005. As a concerned parent without children, I'm worried about this. Are polling places safe? How do we know that polling workers aren't dealing drugs, or setting up MySpace pages? Are polling workers luring youngsters to vote with video games and ipod music mp3 playing machines and web sites? Do we know if voting and gay marriage are correlated? Why are young people watching entertaining programming like Jon Stewart's the Daily Show instead of getting their facts from responsible outlets that feature pundits screaming at each other?
Above all, why aren't these young people reading Richard Morin and the Washington Post? I'm just generally worried.