This midterm election season candidates are trying a different way of connecting with the younger voting demographic. A new election section featuring candidates and issues for users to support has been created on Facebook.com. Additionally, candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races can use their profiles to reach out to students and highlight their stance on certain issues.
It is admirable to see candidates to reach out to communicate with the young voting demographic through a medium that this generation has become so attached to. Young voters should reciprocate by fulfilling their civic duty, educating themselves on candidates and issues and voting in the midterm elections.
Political mobilization of younger voters has long been a goal of both political parties. Political participation for younger voters has been low historically and parties have seen young voters as a potentially untapped group that could turn the tide of an election. Additionally, our young generation has slowly learned that it is important to be involved in politics and that many issues debated within government will directly affect us.
This includes issues like funding for grants and loans for higher education or Social Security reform. The candidate profiles provide an easy and low-cost way for us to connect with candidates and learn their stances on critical issues.
While using the Internet to mobilize voters is not a new phenomenon, with MoveOn.org a pioneer in the area, the Facebook.com election options have the potential to be the equivalent of MTV’s Rock the Vote. The candidate profiles do risk lowering the language of debate and simplifying many of the issues at stake this midterm. However, if voters put an effort to educate themselves and just use the Facebook.com profiles as a starting point for their political participation, this problem can easily be circumvented.
It is the critical responsibility of the current young generation to participate in this election. Our votes are important and if we do not make our voices heard, the issues that are important to us will forever be delegated to a secondary status. As our Founding Fathers explained, the key to a functioning democracy is a well-informed public and without it, governmental representatives will be unresponsive to the needs of the public and fail them.