Education Can Help Young People Become Voters

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It’s election season in the U.S., and get-out-the-vote efforts are in full swing. And one question being asked by pundits and politicos is, how can we motivate young voters to show up at the polls?

After all, in the most recent presidential election, less than half of citizens ages 18 to 29 participated, compared to 71 percent of those 65 and older and 67 percent of eligible voters ages 45 to 64.

But a book published earlier this year by two political scientists tweaks that question. Young people are already plenty motivated to vote, the authors say, but they don’t always follow through to cast ballots. So this book asks, what is it that prevents young people from actually voting?

The answer has implications for political campaigns, policymakers and of course for educators. The book, called “Making Young Voters,” offers a surprising insight about what kind of education actually influences youth voting behavior—and it’s not necessarily civics class.

“Making Young Voters” was written by Sunshine Hillygus, a professor of political science at Duke University, and John Holbein, assistant professor of public policy and education at the University of Virginia. To learn…



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