Today marks National Voter Registration Day as a coalition of organizations, volunteers and celebrities team up to register Americans for the upcoming election. Any American is welcome to register, but the coalition particularly seeks to target the youth vote.
The promotion of civic duty is a noble cause, and young Americans must continually be reminded about the importance of every single vote. However, National Voter Registration Day presents a noteworthy paradigm: the list of more than 500 organizations spearheading the efforts includes the AFL-CIO, Coalition of Labor Union Women and Campus Progress.
What do each of these organizations have in common? Each organization was a staunch supporter of Obama in 2008, and continues to actively support his reelection. Yet, suspiciously absent from the list of official voter registration day supporters is any organization with readily identifiable conservative values.
In order to achieve victory in 2012, Republicans must revisit their strategy from 2008. Republicans failed to court the youth vote in ’08 by assuming that young Americans were not invested in the race. To the contrary, Pew Research revealed Americans aged 18-24 years old had the highest voter turnout since 1972 and 66 percent cast their vote to Barack Obama.
This increased voter turnout was not sheer coincidence. The Left’s monopoly on the youth vote stems from a steady commitment to influencing all facets, including raising election awareness, voter registration assistance, and continued messaging via social media.
However, Republicans have a chance to take back this vital group. Recently released data shows almost half of the young Obama supporters from 2008 have not updated their voter registration. Conservative groups and individuals must commit to courting first-time voters and enabling perennial voters to keep information updated.
Despite the dearth of conservative groups involved in National Voter Registration Day, there are still opportunities before the October deadline. Any college or university that receives federal funding is required to sponsor a voter registration drive. It is important that conservatives make an effort to visit these events and remind this vital demographic of Paul Ryan’s call to action: “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters wondering when they can move out and get going with their life.”
It all starts with one vote.