Throwing a Better Party: Local Mobilizing Institutions & the Youth Vote

  • April 07, 2004
  • By Daniel M. Shea

A shrinking number of Americans are interested in politics--a trend pronounced among younger citizens. Politicians, academics, civic leaders and others are scrambling to find solutions.

This study was commissioned by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and focuses on local political parties. Historically, local parties have played an important role in getting people to the polls. Many observers have suggested they are the key cogs of the democratic process.

Political parties seem alive and well in the 21st century--at least at the state and national levels. But are they also vibrant at the local level? Perhaps more important, are local parties doing anything to connect with young voters--anything to bring them into the electoral process in meaningful ways?

Also, can some local parties tell us how best to connect with young voters? The goal of this project was to seek answers to these fundamental questions.