Two University of Wisconsin student organizations held a press conference Friday to address trends in young voter involvement in the 2012 presidential election.
The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group and the United Council of UW Students convened to present voter turnout in comparison with the 2008 presidential election, David Meyerson, WISPIRG new voters project coordinator said.
According to Meyerson, although many had predicted a voter decrease between 2008 and 2012, WISPIRG and the United Council showed how the numbers have stayed relatively constant nationwide and have actually increased in the Madison area.
A study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found 50 percent of young voters turned out to vote nationally. This figure is about the same as that of the 2008 election and continues an upward trend, the study said.
Meyerson said in 1996, youth turnout was around 37 percent. This figure climbed to 41 percent in 2000 and continued rising to 50 percent in both 2008 and 2012.
According to a statement regarding Friday’s press conference, WISPIRG and United Council made various efforts to increase youth voter figures. They registered over 12,000 voters and got out the word to 370,000 more contacts, via phone banks, emails, texts and social media outreach, to name only a few outlets, the statement said.
This climb from 15,312 voters in 2008 to 19,372 voters in 2012 “just goes to show how UW-Madison is a leader in terms of civic involvement,” Meyerson said.
WISPIRG and United Council also organized events, including a dart
game, “Aim for Democracy” and a Halloween “Trick-or-Vote” canvass to
increase awareness on the UW campus, the statement said.
Associated Students of Madison Rep. David Vines, who is also on the
board of Union Council, said Union Council’s voter registration efforts
were highly successful.