Young Voters Making The Difference, But Barriers Keep Their Full Promise Unfulfilled

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

With a presidential election year comes the inevitable buzz about how how young people will participate in the democratic process.  This year, however, the buzz is about younger voters starting to fulfill the promise of the 26th Amendment, rather than a drumbeat about their apathy. Perhaps this should come as no surprise. A recent Pew Research Center study showed 18-29 year olds are more invested in politics with 85% showing interested in keeping up with national affairs, compared to 71% in 1999. An interest in local politics leaped from 49% in 1999 to 77% today. This increase in interest and investment seems to be playing itself out over the primary season.

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Report Shows Persistent Electorate Bias In the Buckeye State

Ohio's electorate is not reflective of the state's voting eligible population, according to a new report by Project Vote. "Ohio Votes: Civic Engagement in the Buckeye State," written by Benjamin Spears,  examines disparities in registration and voting rates by race/ethnicity, income and age.

Key findings from "Ohio Votes" include:

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Report Shows Kentucky's Persistent Electorate Bias After Highest Minority Turnout Ever

Project Vote released a report this week that shows persistent bias in the Kentucky electorate: those who were registered to vote and vote in the Bluegrass State were not representative of the state's overall eligible population in 2006. This report takes a state-level look at the same topic as a recently released Project Vote report by Doug Hess, Representational Bias in the 2006 Electorate.

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Census Mobility Data Highlights Need for Large-Scale Voter Registration in Communities of Color

The US Census Bureau released data this week on the millions of Americans who moved between 2005 and 2006. The Census tables highlight demographic characteristics, including sex, race and ethnicity, income, educational attainment and other qualities.

Considering that persons must re-register at every new address to be eligible to cast a ballot, the effect that mobility can have on the enfranchisement of millions of Americans is enormous.

Highlights of the Census Geographic Mobility 2005-2006 data include:

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Failing the Grade: Young People Face Strong Barriers at the Polls

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

Young or college-age voters have been found to share similar characteristics with poor and minority voters: They vote Democratic and are underrepresented in the electorate. Their turnout rates are also "depressed by some simple but strong barriers." Such barriers - which are identical to those historically affecting poor and minority voters - include identification requirements; long lines at the polls; vote "challenges; and intimidation.

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