Posted by eireland 2 years, 8 months ago


I recently heard the number one indicator whether someone votes or not is if they are registered. This sounds like a no-brainer, but often overlooked and particularly important, especially for people under 30 living in the battleground states.  

I have to hand it to the youth engagement nonprofit "Rock the Vote." It's amazing they are still around after getting off to a rocky start in the early 1990s with the cringeworthy 60-second PSA featuring Madonna. However, it's clear they've gotten smarter, but they have their work cut out for them. Since 1964, 18- to 24-year-olds have the lowest voter turnout rates for presidential elections than any other age group according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

What is going to get young people to the polls?

Convenience, for one thing. In 1999, Rock the Vote created the first online voter registration platform still alive today. They also go to where the young people are setting up on-the-ground voter registration drives at places such as Coachella and Lollapalooza. Moreover, they partnered with Virgin America this year on a program to register voters in-flight on their TV screens. 

cultural relevance is also very important. I'm not talking about Madonna threatening to "give you a spanking" if you don't vote as seen in the first Rock the Vote ad. This year's campaign is called "Truth to Power" with messaging around speaking truth to power — through engagement, through activism and through votes. Truth is a value that's been tested by all candidates so I think that's spot on as the most important message to address in order to get young people voting. A 2016 Rock the Vote bus tour is also underway featuring appearances by artists, musicians, Funny or Die comedians and cultural leaders that command the respect of the young generation. 

Finding the right mediums for the message is also key. In March, Rock the Vote partnered with Tinder on "Swipe the Vote" where users swiped right or left to disagree or agree on issues to get "matched" with their ideal candidate. That's an incredibly clever way to keep the young ones engaged on a platform where they reside. It's also not just Rock the Vote -- Condé Nast, the CFDA and Instagram are GOTV with some eye-catching voter registration PSAs. It doesn't hurt that the Instagram ads feature several supermodels and fashion designers with the hashtag #runwaytoregister. My favorite PSA stars model Joan Smalls doing a "register to vote" dance which reminds me of what my friends and I do on the dancefloor to make eachother laugh or if I'm trying to embarrass my fiancé. 

Keep up the good work Rock the Vote and others! Homestretch! 


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