The murky events of the 2000 election left many young voters feeling as if their voice hadn’t been heard. After a bitter battle over miscalculated votes, the phrase “Electoral College” became the hot topic. Confused by the process, many began to believe their vote had no bearing on the outcome of events. With the unique details of the 2008 election– a black man, a woman, and the oldest white man to run– a new energy was sparked within the voice of the young. The Hip Hop community responded with countless songs dedicated to the current state of the nation, as well as hope for the future.
It seems as if the call to action has been heard. According to preliminary studies from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), however, young citizens may have had the deciding vote in this year’s presidential election.
After studying national exit polls, CIRCLE reports that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 rose by at least 2.2 million from 2004’s election, and estimates that between 21.6 million and 23.9 million young Americans voted in Tuesday’s election. The youth turnout — if preliminary estimates hold — are projected to be the second-highest since 1972, a year in which 55.4 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 29 exercised their right to vote.
“From a nonpartisan perspective, it is heartening to see young people so motivated and engaged in a national election,” CIRCLE director Peter Levine said in a press release. “Young Americans are also involved in community service at record rates. We must build on the momentum from this election to find ways to keep them civically engaged. It is also critical that those who did not vote for Barack Obama, or who did not vote at all, will feel included in politics, government and community affairs.”
CIRCLE, a group which promotes research on the civic and political engagement of Americans, claims young voters favored Obama over John McCain by a two-to-one margin.
While President-elect Obama has won the electoral vote, many states have not yet reported all of their precincts.
DX will keep you updated on final statistics for the 2008 election.