Historically, young voters have not always played a prominent role in the outcome of the Iowa Caucuses. However, the presidential campaigns have been aggressively courting college students, encouraging them to participate in the election process during their holiday break.
Alec Schierenbeck is a student at Grinnell College who’s originally from New York. "I want to see as many people vote in any demographic," Schierenbeck says, "but especially students, because I think youth voices are under represented."
Schierenbeck is President of the College and Young Democrats of Iowa. He believes caucus turnout will be low for Iowa’s college students that live outside the state and are home for break. "But many are doing it, because so many students are so excited" Schierenbeck claims. "At Grinnell, we have cars leaving Virginia, driving (to Iowa) right now to caucus with the rest of their community. Some (students) are even flying in from Portland."
Schierenbeck says his organization has been working hard to inform Iowa college students about their eligibility to participate in the caucuses. He believes the overall turnout among 18 to 29 year olds will be strong, "because some campaigns are making unprecedented efforts to bring young people into the political process." He says on-line networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, have made it easier to reach young potential voters.
The College and Young Democrats of America have placed a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register and other ads on Facebook, directing students to visit www.YouCanCaucus.com. The website provides information about caucus sites, procedures and eligibility requirements.