SmackDown Your Vote!
Smackdown Your Vote! Announces Program To
Young Voter Participation By One Million In
February 3, 2003
The Smackdown Your Vote! partners,
including new partner, the League of Women Voters, today unveiled
their A Million More In 2004, initiative, with the objective of
getting one million more 18-to-30-year-olds to cast their votes in
the 2004 Presidential election than did in the Presidential election
The program's other goals include: enlisting young people to
become poll workers to address an aging poll worker force; obtaining
a presidential debate focused on issues affecting young voters in
2004; and getting candidates to speak forthrightly to young people
on the issues. (A complete list of objectives is attached). The
Smackdown Your Vote! partners announced the new initiative today at
the National Press Club before an enthusiastic crowd of high school
and college students.
"Since July 2000, Smackdown Your Vote! has registered
400,000 new voters, and now the time has come to engage these new
voters in our democracy," said Smackdown Your Vote! Honorary
Co-chair and WWE Superstar Kurt Angle. "By the next Presidential
election, we will register more than one million new voters, and we
commit today that we will increase by one million the turnout of
young voters in the 2004 elections. Who will these young
people vote for? That question can only be answered by the
actions of our candidates for public office.
That's why we believe a Presidential Youth Debate is imperative
"The new initiative also focuses on getting 16-and-17-year-olds
in democracy so they will be more interested in voting in 2004,
they become voter eligible. "If 16-and17-year-olds can
drive, they can
start becoming active in our democracy," said WWE Superstar
Bradshaw, who was named today as a new honorary Smackdown Your Vote!
Co-chair. "We want every state to start training these high school
students to become poll workers. We have got to get young Americans
excited again about our democracy and the role they can play in
shaping the future of America."
The idea of engaging young people as poll workers and
educating young voters is an important part of the Help America Vote
Act of 2002 passed by Congress in its last session.
U.S. Representative Bob Ney (R-OH), Chairman,
Committee on House Administration, announced the formation of a
Congressional Youth Civic Caucus in the House of
Representatives. The caucus will look at a wide array of
issues and will urge their fellow members of Congress to do more
outreach to young people, as well as to support the objectives of A
Million More in 2004.
"Voting is at the core of our democracy
and efforts such as this, that encourage more people to go to the
polls on Election Day should be applauded. I'm here today to
show my support for this important program and looking forward to
its continued success as all of us seek to engage America's young
people in our democracy, " stated U.S. Rep. Ney.
The formation of a national state initiative - Youth
Empowerment Strategy (YES) for Democracy -- was also
announced. The new bi-partisan initiative, co-chaired by
Minnesota State Representative Tony Sertich (DFL), Florida State
Senator David Aronberg (D), and Ohio State Representative Geoffrey
Smith (R) will encourage state elected officials across the country
to engage in youth forums and debates and to support the objectives
of A Million More in 2004.
"I have been honored to participate in Smackdown Your
Vote! in the past, and I'm really looking forward to joining the
Smackdown Your Vote! team as National Co-chairman of the new
national YES for Democracy initiative," said State Rep.
Sertich. "YES for Democracy is an exciting and creative way to
reach out to young voters and get the next generation involved in
the political process at the state level.
Smackdown Your Vote! has already made a difference in thousands
communities across the nation, and this goal of a million new
will make sure that we continue to build on that success into
Added State Rep. Smith, "Every year, the truest act of
freedom in the world takes place on Election Day in America.
We need to let people know that everyone, including young adults,
are invited. That is what we want to accomplish through YES
"As a young lawmaker, I know how critical voting is to
the survival of our hopes and our dreams," said State Sen. Aronberg.
"Our young adults need to realize that casting their ballot gives
voice to their ideals. Without that, democracy can't survive or
Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota (R) Secretary of State and the
president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State,
American youth in our democratic republic, something she has
promoted in Minnesota, would be an important part of NASS
activities in the coming two years. "I know that my fellow
Secretaries of State want to see more youth engagement and turnout
at the polls," she said. "I
support what Smackdown Your Vote! is trying to accomplish, and
objectives of A Million More in 2004 has my full
Today, the League of Women Voters becomes the newest
partner in Smackdown Your Vote!. One of the League's goals will be
to facilitate more debates aimed at young people among candidates
for public office.
The other partners in Smackdown Your Vote! are Youth Vote
Rock the Vote, Project Vote Smart, National Association
of State, California Vote America, National Foundation for
Legislators, Participate America Foundation, Close Up
Freedom's Answer and World Wrestling
"We are excited about our partnership with
the Smackdown Your Vote!.
A Million More in 2004 is an excellent opportunity to reach
number of younger voters who have become increasingly
disengaged in the political process. We are hopeful that our
candidate debates and voter education efforts nationwide will
energize America's youngest voters and help them realize the
importance of voting and the impact their vote can have," stated Kay
J. Maxwell, President of the League of Women Voters of the United