Volunteers not voters – Young people avoid ballot box

Young people in the United States think voting and volunteering both further social change – but are more likely to volunteer than vote, a recent survey found.

A survey of young people conducted by 20/20 Vision found that 92 percent believed local, direct volunteering was an effective way to promote change. Even though 88 percent also felt voting in elections was effective, young voter turnout has dropped 50 percent since 1972.

Voter turnout among 18-24 year olds dropped to a historic low of 32 percent in the 1996 elections.

To gear up for the November elections, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) will kick off a national campaign on June 20 to mobilize young volunteers to vote.

ServiceVote 2000 will involve a coalition of national, civic and youth organizations led by Youth Service America.

“When young people choose volunteering as an alternative to voting, they are making a false choice,” said Steven Culbertson, President of Youth Service America. “As with community service, the ballot box is a fundamental step in the cycle of civic participation.”

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