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Young Voters Could Decide Iowa | The Nation

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Young Voters Could Decide Iowa

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December 24, 2007

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Sunday, CNN posted a piece on their 2008 Politics page that claims the student vote might be the deciding factor in the January 3 Iowa Caucus.

"With a recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll showing a three-way tie in Iowa's Democratic race between Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards, campaigns are trying to draw new voters.

While all three candidates have worked to generate support and excitement on campuses, the Obama campaign is committing a lot of time and energy on trying to pull out college students across the state, hoping its candidate's inspirational style and message of hope resonates with young voters."

I was equally excited to see a student posted letter to the editor in the Iowa Register that too addressed the original editorial by Register columnist David Yepsen who said out of state students at Iowa's Universities shouldn't be allowed to vote.

"Our leaders should be trying to figure out how to engage young people directly in this upcoming election--by talking to us about the issues we care about, such as global warming and college affordability.

We are the future of this country, and we will be making the big decisions for our country in years to come. Don't stifle our voices and tell us we are not welcome in our own state."

With the Iowa Caucus a week from Thursday I'm eager to see first hand the participation and enthusiasm by students and further if the number of students participating in 2008 increases from numbers in 2004.

As the CNN article quotes a local precinct captain Kris Hasstedt, 22, from Iowa State University:

"I remember the 2004 election, and it seemed like I was a needle in a haystack when it came to young people getting out to vote," Hasstedt said. "But I work at one of the grocery stores here which is mainly college students and a lot of them, every time I go in, there's a buzz about the candidates who they're supporting, where they're going to caucus.... it's a big wake-up call from 2004."

If students show up in larger numbers in the primary it might be an indicator that we could see even larger numbers in the general election. If that is the case, my Christmas Wish is that this will be a wake-up call to all politicians to look to the 18-30 demographic as a reliable voting bloc that can make or break an election if they are properly recruited.

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