By Shawn Healy
We've heard for decades about the relative apathy exhibited by the youngest voting demographic in American elections, the 18-29 age group. Preliminary reports in this morning's Washington Post
via the Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning and Engagement
(a mouthful otherwise known as CIRCLE) suggests an increase of 2 million voters of this age group flocking to the polls last Tuesday in comparison to 2002. More importantly, their votes probably affected the outcome, resulting in a sea change of congressional leadership. 61% of this demographic voted for Democratic candidates.
Overall turnout for the 18-29 bracket registered a rather dismal 24% (up from 20% in 2002). A great deal of emphasis has been placed on mobilizing young people, and early evidence suggests that peer-to-peer interaction is most effective. Hard work lies ahead as we incorporate tomorrow's leaders in the political process. Let's hope these trends continue as the nation gears up for a pivotal presidential election in 2008.