Democracy and Elections

Young Minorities Make Up the Bulk of Unregistered Voters

Project Vote aims to get young, non-college-educated minorities involved in the political process.
A new Project Vote report shows that of the 21 million unregistered young Americans, most are not likely to be affiliated with a college or university -- and larger proportions of young whites are registered than young non-whites. Project Vote seeks to close these gaps.

What makes a young person likely to vote or not vote? New data from Project Vote shows that young Americans who have had at least some college are three times more likely to be registered to vote and to vote. Race also is significant -- voter registration rates among young non-whites has been ten percentage points lower than rates for young whites. Fully half of Americans age 18-29 have not had college experience, but 79 percent of young voters who cast a ballot on Super Tuesday had attended college. Large numbers of young African-Americans and Latinos are still out of the voting process. Out of the 21 million Americans age 18-29 who are not registered to vote, 62 percent is white and 38 percent is non-white. But this election cycle, responding to candidates who speak to the issues they care about most and an unprecedented effort by political parties to engage them, voter registration among young non-whites is picking up speed. And Project Vote is on the heels of this new energy for voting, working in the places with the freshest faces on the voter rolls: helping to register new voters at bus stops and shopping centers in low-income neighborhoods, at nonresidential colleges and trade schools in communities of color, and by apartment complexes and other locales in the inner city. "Roughly half of the 435,000 new vote that Project Vote has helped to register so far this year are 29 and under, and our work is largely in communities of color," said Michael Slater, deputy director of Project Vote. "These new voters will be a force to be reckoned with in the election this November and in elections to come. Project Vote is proud to be part of the effort to reach out to these voters and expand their engagement in the civic process."

Project Vote is aiming to help 1.2 million American in 26 states register by Labor Day. It's the largest on the ground voter registration drive effort in the nation.

Project Vote's analysis shows that voting among young people has been steadily climbing since 2000. Voter turnout among young voters increased more in 2004 than it did for any other age group, in a year which saw an upward participation flux in all demographics. In 2006 young voters again turned out in increased numbers. This year promises to see youth turnout skyrocket as young voters get psyched like never before about voting.

"It is the mission of Project Vote to reach these young voters who may not be at a college or university," said Slater. "Every single day we see that these young people want more and more to participate in the elections process. We aim to help them do that. Our democracy works best when all Americans participate."



Project Vote is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes voting in low-income and minority communities. With offices in Washington, DC, and Little Rock, AR, Project Vote's staff are experts in the fields of voting rights, election law and large-scale voter contact programs. Reporters are invited to come out on a voter registration drive with a team of ACORN workers in Albuquerque, Cleveland, Denver, or Orlando. For more information and interviews, please contact Sarah Massey at 202 445 1169.
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