According to data from the Orange County Board of Elections, voters in the 18 to 25 age group had the lowest turnouts in 2008 and 2010, which were about 9 percent and 6 percent of all voters, respectively.
In 2012, Orange County voters aged 18 to 25 had the second lowest turnout, about 18 percent of all voters — compared to voters over 65, who were about 16 percent.
The N.C. NAACP, which leads weekly Moral Monday protests at the state legislative building, launched its Moral March to the Polls voter mobilization campaign last week.
The organization’s Moral Freedom Summer program will specifically target youth voters.
“This movement has always been focused on building power in communities all across the state,” said the Rev. William Barber, N.C. NAACP president in a press release. “The Moral March to the Polls and Moral Freedom Summer will deepen this work.”
Leaders of college campuses’ political groups also plan to rally voters for this November’s elections.
UNC Young Democrats president Wilson Parker said his organization plans to pass out voter education literature along with voter registration cards because of new voting restrictions.
“We think there is a lack of good information, and there is ample misinformation,” Parker said. “Our aim is to correct that, and that’s starting with providing students with information on when and where to vote.”
Peter McClelland, executive director of the N.C. Federation of College Republicans, said he thinks many young voters are disappointed with the politicians they voted for in past elections.
“People that consider themselves millennials are disenchanted now,” he said. “A lot of people voted for change in 2008, and the job market is shrinking again.”
McClelland said the College Republicans have learned to move ahead and adjust with each new election.
For example, he said social media has become increasingly important.
“Take millennials as they are, reach them where they are, pitch the message that will be listened to — not a 30-minute policy speech, but going on social media sites,” McClelland said.
Parker said the Young Democrats have learned the value of persistence.
“We are going to do what we always do, which is make sure students at Carolina are registered to vote,” he said. “That’s going to mean some students walking around campus with clipboards a lot.”
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