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What Can We Do
to Get More Young People to Vote?

recent survey conducted by Harvard Universityís Institute of Politics found that 83.5 % of undergraduate students had not been contacted by any political party during the 2000 election season. Our system provides very few reasons for candidates to reach out to young voters, which in turn gives the 18-24 demographic little incentive to vote. The question is simple: if there arenít any candidates addressing issues of importance to you ñ then what reason do you have to show up to the polls?

With many young adults and college students finding little reason to turn out on election day and candidates spending even less effort courting their vote, we must examine the system that has created such a dilemma.

There is an alternative. Through the use of Full Representation voting systems, young people on college campuses and in communities where their views are not the majority will be able to gain representation. Full Representation increases competiveness of races and expands the diversity and scope of the issues being brought to the table.

Our goal is two-fold:  to educate young adults across the country on the benefits of alternative systems and how their opportunities to elect candidates of choice will be increased through these systems and to provide the tools and resources for these individuals and organizations to mobilize around these issues.

Getting young adults mobilized to advocate for better election systems in their communities and on college campuses will increase their ability to hold elected officials accountable, give them the power to make a real difference at the polls, and provide real opportunities to seek public office.

The principle of ìfull representationî voting systemsóalso called ìproportional representationîóis a powerful one: the right of decision belongs to a majority, but the right to representation belongs to us all.

The Center is committed to working with local and national organizations in order to increase youth civic engagement. We do workshops and presentations and provide strategic support in order to increase the fairness of elections for people of all ages. For more information contact Rashad Robinson at robinson@fairvote.org .


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