Getting Out the Vote, Keeping Up With Youth

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Brooks Barnes and Rebecca Cathcart

08/13/2008 - Norman Lear burst into his cavernous office here with a grin and an apology for the people he had kept waiting. “Forgive me,” he said, “but I was working to get ‘Gossip Girl’ for us.”

One could easily assume that at 86 Mr. Lear, the television producer behind cultural juggernauts past like “All in the Family,” wouldn’t know about “Gossip Girl,” the television show aimed at the high school and college crowds. The series, on the CW network, is hardly on the radar screens of most people his age.

But Mr. Lear is working to produce what he hopes will be a different kind of cultural phenomenon in the coming months, and that teenage soap opera is at the heart of the effort. Mr. Lear’s youth-oriented voter-registration organization, Declare Yourself, is trying to turn the presidential election into its spotlight moment.

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This year Declare Yourself has registered about 750,000 people, making its goal a fair distance away but within reach, Ms. Rosenthal said. About 41 percent of 18-year-olds are registered to vote, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, compared with 83 percent of 44- to 62-year-olds.

Read the full article Getting Out the Vote, Keeping Up With Youth on the New York Times' Web site.

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