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Youth Share of Electorate Rises Campus Precincts Post Turnout Increase

[Washington, DC]   According to exit polls issued by national media outlets, the youth share of the electorate increased to 19 percent in 2012 over 18 percent in 2008. 

A rise in turnout on college campuses reflected this increase at the local level.  According to preliminary results provided by local elections officials, turnout at many student-dominated precincts at campuses targeted by the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project this election cycle demonstrated significant increases in youth turnout over 2008.  For instance: 

  • At Florida State University, Precinct 1507 showed a 29 percent increase
  • The University of Maryland STAMP voting center demonstrated a 48 percent increase over 2008
  • North Carolina State University’s Wake Precinct showed a 13 percent increase
  • Precinct 48 at the University of Texas, Dallas demonstrated a 46 percent increase
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst Precinct 3, for instance showed a 29 percent increase over 2008.

“Despite the dire predictions of low youth turnout today, young people once again showed that when voter mobilization efforts pay attention to them, they show up on Election Day,” said Leigh-Anne Cole, Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project Director. 

Cole and a team of thousands of student leaders and full time organizers spearheaded an intensive voter mobilization drive on campus over the past several week to help register and urge students to the polls on Election Day.

Using scientifically-proven voter outreach and mobilization techniques such as peer-to-peer phonebanks and canvasses, text message outreach and classroom announcements, the campaign made more than 500,000 vote reminders in the days leading up to the election.  They also helped to register 100,000 young voters through a combination through an online-voting software application and pavement-pounding with registration forms attached to clipboards. 

“The best people to urge a young person to the poll is another young person,’ said Cole.  "Our campaign shows definitively that if you pay attention to young voters, they will pay attention to you."

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The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is one of the largest on the ground, non-partisan young voter mobilization campaigns in the country.  Over the past 25 years, we have helped to register more than 1.7 million young people around the country, and made millions of personal get out the vote reminders.  In 2012, the campaign will target 75 campuses in 17 states with intensive youth vote campaigns that will leverage proven on the ground and online peer-to-peer techniques to turn out young voters.