Are California Millennials ready to rock?

150 150 Caroline Vance

Members of the Future of California Elections Working Group including representatives Amanda Brown from Rock the Vote and Emily Rusch California State Director, CALPIRG

“Print, sign, mail” may become a mantra of the past if Secretary of State Debra Bowen stays on target to have Online Voter Registration (OVR) up and running this September. The opportunity that exists to register more voters, and especially Millennials, is truly great. 

California Forward is a proud partner in the Future of California Elections workgroup with organizations like Rock the Vote and CALPIRG that are working to promote OVR and make elections more transparent and accessible in general.  

“The recent movement in California towards online voter registration is game-changing.  Rock the Vote, along with the other Future of California Elections partners, is excited to work with Secretary Bowen and her office to create even more opportunities for the people of California to get registered and engaged in our country’s democracy!” said Amanda Brown, Deputy Director of Rock the Vote.

Just because the capacity exists will not on its own drive hordes of Millennnials to register to vote. They need to be engaged, invited and interacted with. A study titled “Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action” found that “youth are very involved in friendship-driven and interest-driven activities online”. The study found that 78% of youth are sending messages, sharing status updates, or chatting using online using social network services like Facebook and that 58% of youths are sharing links or forwarding information or media through social network services like Twitter or Facebook. 

“In 2012, Rock the Vote aims to register 1.5 million people – sure to be the largest non-partisan voter registration drive in the country. And this effort will be predominately online!  We do this because the modern electorate – which is increasingly diverse, mobile and technologically savvy – needs a modern elections system that leverages innovative technologies to encourage civic participation”, said Amanda Brown, Deputy Director of Rock the Vote.

Rock the Vote has been harnessing the power of technology at the intersection of popular culture and politics for the past twenty-one years at the intersection of popular culture and politics and has registered more than five million young people to vote. In Washington State, Rock the Vote has pushed forward a state-of-the-art online voter registration tool that now allows users to register to vote (from their phone, iPad, or computer). 

The Future of California Elections workgroup led by CAlPIRG is working hard to get the word out about OVR all over the state. Conversations are ongoing at the university level – including community colleges, California State Schools and the University of California system with the goal of one day incorporating an OVR link from a school’s class registration page. 

“The engagement of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. Throughout our 40 year history, CALPIRG has worked to mobilize young voters – spearheading massive registration and ‘get out the vote’ drives to turn young people out to the polls and empower them to become active and vocal participants of the political process. This year, we have a unique opportunity to use the power of the internet and social media through California’s new online voter registration platform, and hope to turn out the vote in bigger and more creative ways than ever before!” said Daniela Uribe, New Voters Project Fellow with CALPIRG.

So far the following campuses and associations have endorsed New Voters Project and will be using the new tool in their fall voter registration efforts: The University of California Student Association, University of California campuses, Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, Stanford University, Occidental College, San Francisco State University, California State University East Bay, California State University Fresno, California State University Los Angeles, and California State University San Marcos.

If you would like to add your campus or association to the list please me know. November’s election is right around the corner and every registrant counts!


Caroline Vance

All stories by: Caroline Vance