Texas A&M University-Kingsville

American Democracy Project joins Texas voter registration project

KINGSVILLE - August 24, 2006

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Building on the historic young voter turnout in the 2004 elections, the American Democracy Project at Texas A&M University-Kingsville announced a non-partisan project to register young voters in the 2006 election cycle, part of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Texas project to register 40,000 students to vote nationwide.

School administrators and students at 80 colleges and universities will register young voters using a mix of peer-to-peer outreach, encouragement from professors, email and direct mail. The AASCU and Texas A&M-Kingsville projects are part of a nationwide, non-partisan effort to register 350,000 voters in 2006, coordinated by Young Voter Strategies and funded by a $3 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Leslie Hunter is a Regents Professor in history and head of A&M-Kingsville’s American Democracy Project (ADP), which is an AASCU-directed national initiative seeking to create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates. He offered these supporting facts for the voter registration project.

“The voting rate in the 2004 presidential election was highest among the citizens age 55 and older. It was lowest among citizens age 18 to 24. Only 47 percent of the younger group voted. A key difference was registration. While 79 percent of the older population was registered, only 58 percent of the younger group was registered.

“In our country, the voting requirements include age, residency/citizenship and registration. If a person is at least 18 and a citizen of the U.S., they can register to vote. Where they are registered is dependent on residency. While in school here at A&M-Kingsville, students can register to vote in either what they consider their home county or in Kleberg County. We will be working with materials that allow us to send in our students’ registration to any Texas county of which the student considers themselves to be a resident.”

Two of the country’s leading voter mobilization researchers will work with AASCU on this voter registration project to track and evaluate which techniques register the most state college students and find out which of them is most likely to result in a vote cast on Election Day. The results can be applied by future voter registration projects at all public colleges, which enroll more than six million students and growing.

“Young people are the future,” said Hunter. “Generation Y, now ages 12-29, is a generation as large as the baby boom generation. Within nine years, they will compose 37.8 percent of the electorate. The American Democracy Project is trying to involve students in civic engagement. We want to encourage them to be interested in, informed about and involved in voting. But students can vote only if they are registered.”

More information about the voter registration project and the ADP at Kingsville is available online at www.americandemocracyproject.com.

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