Student voters could help shape the election. But many don't want to.

Some schools turn to technology to spur participation

Once again, many college students say they'll sit out the midterm elections, the Boston Globe reports. However, young Americans represent a crucial voting bloc, and political parties—and universities—are working to get them to the polls on Tuesday.

Millennials, defined as Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, appear to be generally disengaged from this year's election. A Harvard University poll released last week found that just 26% of millennials definitely planned to vote in Tuesday's midterm elections, compared to about 50% of voters age 30 and older.

At George Washington University, just blocks from the White House, students told the Globe that there were a variety of reasons they didn't want to vote: they weren't interested, or it was too hard to cast an absentee ballot.

Some schools are trying to ease the voting process. More than 200 colleges, including Ohio State and Stanford, have purchased access to TurboVote—a digital, nonpartisan service that eases voter registration for college students and sends reminder alerts.

Political campaigns also are trying new tactics to mobilize younger Americans. For example, the Republican party hired a national youth director and revamped its approach to canvassing on college campuses this year. The Republican party identified youth voters as a key demographic area for improvement, after candidate Mitt Romney's loss in the 2012 presidential election (Zakrzewski, Boston Globe, 11/3; Nelson, National Journal, 11/3).


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