Political Participation … Not Just for Adults

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Haley Rogers writes, Are you caught up in the excitement surrounding the Democratic National Convention?

Are you caught up in the excitement surrounding the Democratic National Convention? Many other young people in the Denver Metro Area are too. With the convention winding to a close, some people may be wondering how they can get involved. There are many ways for young people to be a part of the excitement leading to the election in November. One way to get involved is called canvassing. Canvassing is when you walk around you’re neighborhood, and try to encourage people to vote for somebody. “A lot of what you do when you are volunteering for a political campaign is trying to get out the name recognition, because name recognition is what wins the campaign” said Adam Safadi, a 16 year old student at FairviewHigh School, and a volunteer for the Democratic Party in JeffersonCounty.One easy way for kids to get involved is to talk to adults in their life. While you’re sitting around the dinner table, or at a barbeque bring up the subject of politics. You can share your opinion, and maybe convince somebody that they should vote the way you want them to. Simple, but it can do the trick. Even if you can’t vote it is important to tell people how you feel about candidates and issues. If you get involved at a young age, you will know what you are doing by the time you can vote. It is important to understand the issues, and get involved when you are young because if you’re telling adults about a candidate, then they may realize you’re your opinion is important too.Political participation by young people has been growing. There are no statistics on people under the age of 18 because they can’t yet vote. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, CIRCLE, in the youngest age group that can vote, ages 18 to 24, 47% of registered voters voted in the 2004 presidential election. This is an 11% increase over participation in the 2000 presidential election. Looking at how excited people are about politics this year, you can bet that even more young voters will go to the polls in November.Even if you cannot vote yet, kids have a part in the presidential race. Whether you support Barack Obama or John McCain, consider getting involved this election season!