12,000 Millennials "Win" Midterm Elections

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The 12,000 members of the Junior State of America "win" the battle to engage High School Students in the political process. JSA's October National Voter Registration Drive and One Day Election Conferences successfully engaged thousands of high school students in this year's midterm elections.

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JSA [is] unique compared with other debate organizations.You don't really gain the same [heightened] perception when you debate current events in other organizations as you do in JSA."

While Tulsi Gabbard (D) from Hawaii or Aaron Shock (R) from Illinois, two millennials who co-chair the Future Caucus in Congress as part of the Millennial Action Project, are likely to win re-election, the younger end of the millennial cohort, specifically to the 12,000 high school members of the Junior State of America, are set to score a decisive victory of their own. Whether Republicans romp to victory or Democrats hang on barely, JSA members are sure to post a win in the battle to engage young people in the political process and have their voices heard.

It is no secret that American youth, on the whole, are thoroughly disillusioned with politics this election year. According to the recent annual study conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, only 26% of voters under the age of 30 plan to participate in the upcoming midterm elections. A Census Bureau report shows that the voter turnout during midterm elections is lower than during presidential elections with only 37% of those who were eligible to vote actually venturing to the polls in 2010. However, 12,000 JSA members have a plan to move 80 million co-Millennials, one registration, one political awareness event and one vote at a time.

JSA students held regional Election One-Day Conferences, held a nation wide voter registration drive and hosted mock-elections. Each Election One Day Conference revolved around discussing the issues central to the current elections. Issues discussed and debated included equal pay, gun control, education reform, and reproductive rights. Students also heard from various keynote speakers such as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in New York City and California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neil Kashkari, both of whom were very strongly supportive of youth involvement in the political process.

The push to register voters in every community JSA members could reach engaged thousands of voters, educated the kids participating in the drives about the electoral process and crucially enabled thousands to exercise their constitutional right to vote by getting them registered. Mock Elections offered students a chance to express their candidate preferences and put their newly gained perspective on the elections to work. Sharon Lin, of Stuyvesant High School was really inspired by the Mock Election in New York City and said, "I really liked the interaction and it was really personal. Those qualities are what make JSA unique compared with other debate organizations.You don't really gain the same [heightened] perception when you debate current events in other organizations as you do in JSA."

Whether you weep tears of joy or sorrow at the outcome of tomorrow's elections, feel free to smile on a future where these students are on the front lines in the fight against apathy; and winning.

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Steven Sodders
since: 08/2010
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