Just Vote

If you live in New York, you have exactly one day left to register to vote. If you live somewhere else, you may have more time (check here to see the registration deadline for other states).

Voter registration is always one of the biggest nationally coordinated efforts leading up to any Presidential Election. There are literally dozens of advocacy groups that work on these issues. This year is no different.

One key group that is always targeted in voter registration efforts is youth. So just how is that effort going this year?

According to this article in the L.A. Times, Rock The Vote has registered almost 2.3 million voters in the last 15 months, and expects to register a total of 2.5 million. That’s more than twice as many people as the organization registered in 2004. And that's just one organization. Another organization, Declare Yourself, has registered 750,000 voters under 30 since the summer.

What makes this year different from previous years is the numerous reports of innovating ways that groups are reaching out young voters. There are viral videos like 5 Friends Uncensored that have been viewed over a million times on YouTube. The New Voters Project has a text messaging campaign to increase voter turnout called TXT OUT THE VOTE. There are also massive efforts on social networking sites the Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, all encouraging young people to register. And Rock the Vote recently launched a feature on Microsoft's Xbox 360 that allows gamers to request voter registration forms from their handsets!

I believe it’s these kinds of efforts which really go out and reach youth where they already are, so to speak, that account for that record jump in the number of registered youth voters this year. And it’s not just registering that’s important. Super Tuesday this year saw record turnout of youth voters, and those young voters often played a central role in primary wins.

If you’re not registered to vote, no matter your age, click here to find out where you can. And if you are registered, that’s great, but make sure to take 10 minutes and send an e-mail to your friends and family telling them why it’s important that they register too.