Have NC's young voters given up?

It sure seems that way:

seniors over age 65 outnumbered young voters ages 18 to 25 in all but four counties with major universities – Orange, Watauga, Pitt and Durham. Young voters had the lowest participation rate of any age group, except in college counties like Jackson, Pasquotank, Scotland and Guilford and in several eastern counties where African Americans are the majority of voters, including Hertford, Northampton, Bertie and Edgecombe.

This goes a long way towards explaining why politicians who try to drag us back to the 1950's seem to keep getting elected. For those of you deeply involved in NCDP organizing, when's the last time you saw a 20 year-old at a precinct/county/whatever meeting? And when's the last time somebody at one of those meetings thought that missing young person was a problem?


The fact that meetings have to happen in person

is a big part of the problem. Businesses throughout the world have figured out how to have discussion, collaboration, and decision-making happen in a virtual environment. The sooner the Democratic Party begins operating in the 21st Century, the better.

Hell, I'd even go to meetings if I could do it over Skype or Join.me.

Good point

Could that technology thing be behind the lower turnout for young voters? They're so used to taking care of personal needs electronically that actually showing up at a polling place seems archaic?

I know there's a lot of politically involved young people (YDNC, etc.) who revel in the act of voting, but what about the rest?

I have a feeling this issue is much more important than we think.

Youth engagement

Of the 4 counties cited for performing well with youth, I spend a lot of time in 3 of them (Orange - I live and am politically active there, Durham & Pitt - I work there).

I know there is more to it than this, but 3 things that strike me as important to youth outreach regardless of party are:

1) youth organizing - I saw groups organizing youth in all these counties

2) youth issues - I see young people more engaged by politicians who speak about issues like student loans, the dream act, & lgbt equality than I do for say politicians talking about medicare or support for veterans at rotary clubs and bbq dinners even though those are also important issues

3) young candidates - it's hard to get excited about a political arena that so often prefers long resumes a lifetime of wealth. In Orange County, one of the counties that did well, the Dems had a county party chair in his early 20s

I think what Sam and Evan are doing with the Grassroots Farm Team is great, and that there needs to be more youth engagement and training for the political arena. And political parties of all stripes need to take more "risks" on younger candidates. Technology is important too.

I raised a conversation about shortening the term length of terms on boards and commissions in Chapel Hill so that university students could realistically complete a term, and make the applications for boards and commissions able to be done online, but those ideas were pretty well shot down.

I've registered a lot of young voters, and the vast majority of them seem to be registering unaffiliated. And to reach them, I think speaking to issues matter more than speaking to the need to elect good democrats.

And while we're on the subject of youth political engagement, I'll also plug this event:

From voting rights to women’s rights, those in power want to take us backwards. North Carolina families, students, and workers cannot afford this regressive agenda – and we will not accept it. It is more urgent than ever to build upon multi-issue, grassroots mobilization efforts in NC. Our state has a rich history of activism and resistance, and as in the past, students must serve as leaders in the fight for social justice. The time for organizing a powerful student movement is now!

Instead of accepting a future shaped by low wage jobs, racial injustice, and a warming planet, our generation is coming together to demand a world with opportunity for all people and justice for our earth—a world without fear of deportation, crushing debt, or heterosexist discrimination. Join the movement on February 16th.

Save the date now and help build student voices and student power to reclaim our education and create the state we want to live in!

That's just this 28 year old's .02

Cold Product

Jake is exactly right about cause and effect in youth turnout. When the only candidates on the ballot are over 60, and the only issues discussed are property taxes, Medicare, and social security, young people don't turn out. (That's not just opinion, it's empirically verified academic research).

To put it simply, technology and cultural slang and the music the kids these days listen to... None of those things matter compared to the issues a candidate actually articulates. Miley Cyrus; Andre 3000, Gotye, and the best social media campaign in the world, couldn't sell young consumers any brand of sensodyne, lipitor, or depends. Their commercials could go viral and trend all the way to the top of twitter... we're still not buy'n what they're sell'n.

No doubt, technology and branding are important parts of how you talk to young voters. But the content of the communication is what matters. Politicians already know this about every other demographic group, and pander accordingly. But for some reason most of them assume young voters don't want substance. Or they assume we won't vote. Or both. And for Democratic candidates, it is quite literally their loss.
-typed from my phone. Pardon the typos and grammatical catastrophes.

You know what? This:

When the only candidates on the ballot are over 60

Just gave me what I think may be a great idea. If we can get some twenty-somethings on as many ballots as possible, that might prove productive in getting out the youth vote, at least in the districts in question. I know one fella who ran for County Commissioner when he was (I think) nineteen, and he's been a catalyst for young Dems ever since.

But that push has to come from the Party (proper), which is one more thing prospective Chairpersons need to talk about before the SEC meeting.

I bet you'd like to vote over the Internet too?

James - there are somethings better done in person. I am sure you can think of some of them.

I have talked with younger voters - some of them in the Young Dems. They ask to be given great responsibilities, but when I mention that there are many precincts that aren't organized, they all claim they don't have enough time to organize a precinct and get out the vote.

I can see why they feel that way - there are some younger Dems who are trotting all over the place from one meeting to another and they just don't have enough time to organize their own precinct. But they do want to sit at the adult's table.

Don't you have to learn to crawl before you can walk, or walk before you can run?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

We should be able to vote over the Internet

Why not? Why should a voter who has a dependable automobile have an advantage over one with no car at all? Why should a retired voter with time on their hands have an advantage over one who's working two jobs to make ends meet?

Voting shouldn't be a challenge, it should be made as easy as possible. And as far as young Dems wanting to be involved, they should be encouraged not discouraged. Just because they haven't met certain criteria, it doesn't mean they can't make a difference. That "crawl before you walk" thing is probably why they don't try to organize precincts. How many middle-aged professionals would even listen to them, much less follow their guidance?

Voting over the internet isn't secure nor verifiable.

Don't believe me - believe Joyce McCloy with NC Verified Voting. If someone doesn't have a dependable car - they can vote via absentee by mail ballot. Which while not as secure as voting in person is a damned sight more secure than internet voting. Ask any reputable computer scientist or professional who is not selling internet voting!

How do you know that everyone has a secure and dependable computer that hasn't been hacked or has viruses in it? How do you know that they have dependable internet access in their home? If they can make it to a library or school to vote over a computer - they can get to an early voting or precinct polling place.

And as for the middle-aged professionals not listening to a young person - what about Matt Hughes in Orange County? He's a county party Chair!

And I know plenty of older people who listen to younger people. When I first organized my precinct, I lived in the same neighborhood I lived in since I was 12. I asked the people whose grass I cut, whose kids I babysat (and some whose daughters I dated) to vote for me for precinct Chair. I've been a precinct Chair since 2003. So please don't tell me that you can't ask older people to vote for a younger person. It can be done - it's like applying for any other job. Just tell them what you have done. Or what you can do. But please don't tell me that organizing a precinct is so tough that younger people can't get older people to trust them or take guidance from them. That's BS!

Would it be responsible for you to hand over the keys to a high-performance sports car to a 16 YO kid who had never driven before?

I believe in encouragement. That's why I tell young Dems that organizing a precinct is the best way to learn "the business" from the ground up. You learn to knock on doors and ask people to vote for you as precinct Chair. Then you ask them to get out and do the same thing but to ask the people they meet to vote for Dems.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Just an observation

On the rare occasion I come into contact with people whose daughters I used to date, I still see the same look of distrust in their eyes. Or maybe relief, that their daughters kept shopping for the perfect mate instead of settling. I can't imagine asking them for the time of day, much less to vote for me.

Maybe you do have some political skills worth paying attention to...


Every hour of every day of every week of every year, people move billions of dollars through various business and personal accounts. There is fraud, to be sure, especially on the credit side. But in terms of deposit accounts, it's a very safe system.

Hundreds of millions of people trust "the internet" to manage their family finances. Surely that same level of trust could be extended to voting.

Not saying we're there yet, but in 50 years, your comment will be as silly as those who said television would never compete with radio.

I had a very telling discussion with 20 somethings

back in June. granted these young people were not the most conventional. We were spending a week together building and learning about cob structures. When I asked them about their political involvement at a shared dinner one night, they were very negative, vehemently declaring that it's useless and has no bearing on their lives. When I asked if any where registered to vote, half of the group was and all of them were registered as Independents (in Durham). One of them was adamant that he didn't want to register for fear of being called for jury duty.

I ended the conversation thanking them for their points of view and letting them know I didn't have much interest in politics at their age either but I said if I was ever on trial, the young man who didn't want to be a juror was exactly the person I'd want sitting in judgement of me.

maybe just maybe the young

maybe just maybe the young voter has simply concluded that the Democratic Party of North Carolina has absolutely nothing to offer. Same old policies, same old faces, same old power brokers..no its not technology or any other reason....stop rolling out the same old political relics and wet noodle cowardice policies. They want support the radical rightist in the GOP so its stay out of it all or register independent. A Senator who votes against the Dream Act, Congressional Reps who vote against ACA, ....has the NCDP bothered to bloody ask people below the age or 50 what they think, what they hope the future looks like?

A leader of the Progressive Dems

may soon be the state party chair, maybe that will help on this front:

Same old policies, same old faces, same old power brokers