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This is their time

Maybe this is the voter youth movement pundits have been talking about for years.
Among Missouri’s 4.2 million registered voters heading to the polls Tuesday are a tremendous amount of new registrants – the majority of those are under the age of 35.
In Ray County, 810 of the 1,510 new voters are 34 years old and younger. 32 percent of the total are between 18 to 24 years old. The numbers in Clay County are even more astounding. Over 11,000 – or 59 percent – of the 18,971 new voters are also under 35.
Many groups have mobilized the young. Rock the Vote boasts its road-tripping road show, with the likes of Jack Johnson, the Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crowe, has netted over 2.5 million young registrants nationally – well over their goal of 2.3 million.
College campuses have been skillfully cultivated by Barack Obama’s campaign with the tools of that generation: Facebook and MySpace.
The League of Young Voters and the Young Democrats have campaigns to reach non-college working youth. And you can’t count out the influence of Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, deftly skewering politicians’ hypocrisy and waffling, to shape political viewpoints of its audience. The interest and the excitement is there, but how that will translate to candidates is anyone’s guess, but a big youth turnout will probably help the Democrats.
The question has always been: But will they show up? Their participation has increased in the past four years of elections. Two million more young voters participated in the 2006 midterms than ever before. In 2010, this group will comprise one-third of voter registrants.
It appears their time has arrived and they will determine the outcome of this election.
This is a historic election, and if you’re old enough to remember casting a ballot for John F. Kennedy, as my mother did in her first presidential election, some see similarities. A relatively young man, not full of experience and from an ethnic or religious background that makes many feel uncomfortable, is seeking the office of President. His words are drawing crowds in the tens of thousands. What he is selling is something that a man from Arkansas knows well is in high demand – hope.

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