Teacher Resources: 30-Second Candidate
Recently, a producer from Wisconsin Public Television asked a group of 17 year-old high school students if they intended to vote when they turn 18. Every hand in the room went up. Their teacher confirmed, “This is what happens every year.”
But the facts show that something happens between the good intentions and the actual act of voting:
Fact: According to voting data, in the 2004 Presidential election, 70% of 18- 29 year-olds registered to vote, but only 49% actually voted. This is the lowest voter turnout rate of all age groups, and it is quite low compared to the 72% overall voter turnout in 2004 (Source: www.circle.org).
Fact: It is normally during a person’s first ten years of voting eligibility that voting habits are established. If a person is politically inactive from the ages of 18-29, it could indicate a lifetime of political inactivity (T. Patterson, 2002, The Vanishing Voter: Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty).
Fact: A September 2000 survey by MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the number one reason why young people didn’t plan to vote was lack of information on the candidates.
Join Wisconsin Public Television as we provide you, the young people who are on the verge of voting and their educators, with facts and tools to help you responsibly analyze campaign advertising, as ads are a major source of information about candidates. We hope you will be able to separate these “30-Second Candidates” from the real candidate so that each vote you cast will be an informed vote.