Jan 252004
 
Authors: Christiana Nelson

MTV has never run a political campaign advertisement.

This is just one example of how young voters are ignored, and

one idea that Josie Rodberg, CSU campus organizer for the New

Voter’s Project, hopes to change.

“The 18-to-24-year old voters are never talked to by

politicians,” Rodberg said. “Politicians don’t think it is worth

their money to run campaigns on networks that cater to young

people, like MTV.”

Yet, the New Voter’s Project has been created to do just

that.

The New Voter’s Project, the largest grassroots youth voter

mobilization campaign in history, is targeting six states

nationwide to register a total of 300,000 young voters, including

7,500 new voters at CSU by the Nov. 2 presidential elections.

“We are planning this one-time, huge grassroots effort with hope

that policy makers will recognize young people as potential

voters,” Rodberg said.

The New Voter’s Project is a non-profit, non-partisan

organization that has received major financing from various groups

such as the Center for Public Interest Research, State Public

Interest Research Groups and Pew Charitable Trusts.

They are also supported by members of both major political

parties and have partnered with leading media and cultural groups,

as well as colleges and universities, to reach the utmost number of

young voters.

Beth Uselton, CSU campus director for the New Voter’s Project,

said that in order to register 7,500 new voters at CSU the project

will build coalitions with existing campus organizations.

“Our hope is to build coalitions with student groups that are

already in place on campus and that those organizations will be the

leaders,” Uselton said. “We want to be the binding force that

brings them together.”

The non-partisan voter mobilization campaign is aiming to

contact every student on the CSU campus at least twice before the

November presidential elections, to urge them to not only register

to vote but also to show up at the polls on election day.

Krista Braton, a sophomore English major, recently registered to

vote and believes that the New Voter’s Project is a good way to

attract new student voters.

“I think for me the worst part about registering was not really

knowing where to go or how to do it,” Braton said. “I think that a

lot of people will take advantage of being able to register on

campus.”

Although some students believe that voting is essential, the New

Voter’s Project will have to convince other students, like Jamie

Smith, that voting is a worthwhile pursuit.

“Personally, I don’t think that it’s important,” said Smith, a

junior biology major. “I’m not really interested in politics, so I

don’t really pay attention to what’s going on.”

The New Voter’s Project will initially target young people at

Colorado universities and then move into the community to register

non-students in Fort Collins.

“Through this campaign we are hoping that young people will be

heard politically,” Uselton said. “We want to make sure that young

people have a voice in American politics long after we’re

gone.”

Nathaniel Jackson, a freshman civil engineering major, believes

that the New Voter’s Project’s will give students the opportunity

to become more civically engaged rather than simply criticize

governmental actions.

“Voice your opinion because if you don’t you won’t make a

difference,” Jackson said. “One vote can change the outcome and if

everyone thinks that their vote doesn’t count, then the people’s

opinion won’t actually be representative.”

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