Vail Daily’s view: New day in Colorado when young outvote the old |

Vail Daily’s view: New day in Colorado when young outvote the old

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

Young people out-voted their grandparents in Colorado in the recent presidential election.

According to Colorado election records cited by the Rocky Mountain News, voters under 30 represented 19.2 percent of Colorado’s overall electorate. Voters over 65 accounted for only 16.5 percent of the turnout.

And although two-thirds of these young people voted for Barack Obama, this is good news even for the GOP. Everyone in America benefits from a more involved and informed electorate.

But the numbers from one election don’t prove a trend yet. The next major election is the 2010 mid-term election, which will be the GOP’s chance to take back Congress.

As exciting as that may sound to pundits and the media, even older folks don’t necessarily turn out in huge numbers for the mid-terms. So there’s no reason to expect the youngest voters to turn out for an election that doesn’t involve Barack Obama, George Bush or Sarah Palin.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The real test of the interest of young people will be 2012 and there are a few obvious scenarios: Keeping a popular and successful President Obama in office, defending a mediocre Obama against someone they see as an even worse alternative, or in the Democratic nightmare scenario, supporting a new candidate in the face of a failed Obama administration.

The young person’s candidate doesn’t have to win to prove they’ve tuned in to politics and democracy. They just need to show up. And the chances are good because, thanks to their presence in this recent election, both political parties will no doubt be barraging the under-30 crowed with text messages, Facebook ads and iPhone apps.

That type of “virtual” campaigning proves young people have already had a positive impact on democracy ” turning the typically older people who run political onto current technology.

And while $1,000-plate-fundraisers and cliquey party conventions serve very important purposes in political campaigns, text messages and e-mails are a way to get far more ” and perhaps less well-off or well-connected ” people involved in the democratic process.

Support Local Journalism