Young Voters Are Back, Says Allegheny College Political Science Professor

Nov 03, 2004, 00:00 ET from Allegheny College

    MEADVILLE, Pa., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- "Young voters and back, and
 politicians will ignore them at their peril," says Political Science Professor
 Daniel M. Shea.
     According to figures released this morning by the Center for Information
 and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), during this election
 young voter turnout is the highest it has been in more than a decade.
 CIRCLE reports that at least 20.9 million Americans under the age of 30 voted
 in 2004, an increase of 4.6 million compared to 2000. The percentage of
 eligible young people who voted (the turnout rate) also increased, CIRCLE
 says, from about 42.3% to approximately 51.6%.
     For Shea, who directs Allegheny College Center for Political
 Participation, CIRCLE's early numbers confirm his expectations for this year's
 turnout and offer compelling evidence that his efforts, along with those of
 colleagues around the country who are committed to encouraging greater
 political engagement among young Americans, are paying off.
     "I'm convinced that we've turned the corner and that young Americans will
 continue to be important players in the electoral process," says Shea.
     "We'll have to wait a bit for more data, but I'm also convinced that young
 Americans participated in campaign efforts at record levels.  Both campaigns
 relied heavily on young activists.  They were there, in the trenches, and it
 was great to see."
     As for the losing side:
     "The trick, of course, to sustaining enthusiasm will be in convincing the
 many young Kerry supporters that their efforts were not in vain, that they
 made a difference.  If they can take their passion and create long-term
 organizations, they will be a force to reckon with."

SOURCE Allegheny College