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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: engagement

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November 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Seattle youth defy national voter apathy trends

Nationwide, young voters are less likely to vote this year than in 2008. But in Seattle, they’re more engaged than ever before.

More than 300 young Seattleites listen to a motivation speech by State Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle) before canvassing to get out the vote at Washington Bus’s Trick-or-Vote event last Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Toby Crittenden / UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — What do a skeleton, Rosie the Riveter and a walking cupcake all have in common?

They were among 400 creatively-costumed young activists trick-or-treating for votes and marriage equality in Seattle over Halloween weekend.

Trick or Vote, an annual “Get Out the Vote” canvassing event put on by Seattle-based non-profit Washington Bus, saw an unprecedented number of dedicated young people taking to the streets this year in their spookiest (or quirkiest) attire — reminding people to turn in their ballots before election day next week and to support Referendum 74.

It was the biggest turnout at an event in Washington Bus history. This is in keeping with an increasing number of young Seattleites taking politics into their own hands this year — especially when it comes to local and state issues — but this runs counter to national trends of youth-voter disengagement.

Washington Bus, unique in its youth-focused approach to political engagement, doubled its number of regular participants in just the past year. Most of these volunteers are under 25 years old.

 

According to Toby Crittenden, Washington Bus’ executive director, there are now more than 5,000 young people who canvas and phone bank with the Bus on a regular basis, which is ten times more than when it started up in 2007 (and yes, this includes 2008’s “Obamamania“).

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