CDT Launches Election 2004 Youth Political Empowerment Project
CDT POLICY POST Volume 10, Number 1, January 22, 2004
A Briefing On Public Policy Issues Affecting Civil Liberties Online
The Center For Democracy and Technology
(1) CDT Launches Election 2004 Youth Political Empowerment Project
Last Fall, CDT launched Youth04, a project that seeks to synthesize the best of the political Internet with the best of traditional grassroots organizing to empower and motivate 18-25 year olds in the 2004 elections. The project is headed by CDT senior policy fellow David M. Anderson, founder of Maryland Internet Politics Week and an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.
Much of the leadership and momentum of Youth04 comes from College Chapter Leaders that Youth04 is recruiting and training. Sixteen chapters are currently underway, including at the University of Washington, Harvard, the University of South Carolina, Clemson, Howard, George Washington University, and the University of Texas.
Youth04 has forged partnerships with major organizations focused on young voters, including: Youth in Action, Mobilizing America's Youth, United Leaders, Party Y, and Youth Venture. Other Youth04 partners providing content and outreach include Harvard's Institute of Politics, the University of Washington's Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, The Junior State of America, The Washington Center, and People for the American Way.
In an op-ed last year in the Baltimore Sun, Youth04 head David Anderson outlined the philosophy behind Youth04: "Next step for Net: engaging undecided voters."
The Youth04 website is at http://www.youth04.org.
(2) W.W. Norton Releases Youth04 Online Student Guide
On January 15, W.W. Norton & Company released an online version of "Youth04: Young Voters, the Internet and Political Power." This booklet, written by Youth04 Executive Director David Anderson, sets forth both a theoretical and practical guide to college students who wish to become empowered this election year. Norton will market this booklet in hard copy in the Fall in conjunction with the most widely used political science textbook in America, "We the People," by Benjamin Ginsberg, Theodore Lowi, and Margaret Weir.
The Youth04 website also contains a College Curriculum page with useful links and suggested topics for papers and discussions, designed to help college professors raise in their classes questions about young voter engagement.
"Youth04: Young Voters, the Internet and Political Power" is online at http://www.wwnorton.com/wtp4e.
(3) Youth04 Seeks to Create Relationship between Candidates and Young Citizens
Youth04 is focused on giving young voters a voice in the 2004 elections, in races from President on down. To bring the beliefs and sentiments of young voters to the candidates, online and offline strategies will be employed, including Web-based efforts like petitions and online votes that will aggregate the viewpoints of young voters. Two Youth04 discussion boards are up, with more to follow. Candidates are being urged to make postings.
The project also intends to use viral political marketing techniques. A petition that seeks to affirm young voters' desire to become empowered this election cycle is currently circulating around the Net.
Youth04 is encouraging restaurants and cafes to provide discounts to young people who wish to meet to discuss politics. Youth04 Chapters is also seeking to forge relationships with nonstudent 18-25 year olds at community technology centers in an effort to bridge the civic divide, which lines up in many ways with the digital divide.
(4) Youth04 Targets South Carolina for First Primary Effort
Youth04 has launched it first targeted effort in South Carolina. With two weeks to go before the pivotal February 3 primary, Youth04 has three college chapters (USC, Clemson, and Claflin,an historically black college) working to create a relationship between young voters and the candidates.
South Carolina Youth04 has its own webpage, which now features a contest between USC and Clemson, arch rivals, to generate the most signatures on a petition urging politicians pay attention to young people.
In the primary season, Youth04 is also targeting Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Ohio for special attention.
The South Carolina Youth04 webpage is http://www.youth04/states/sc/