Declare Yourself has really seized the spotlight when it comes to grabbing the attention of young voters. Although those between the ages of 18-29 have failed to vote in significant numbers in some election years, Norman Lear, founder of Declare Yourself, managed to register 1.2 million people as voters in 2004 and 2006. He and others who’ve jumped onto the board of Declare Yourself seem determined to keep the momentum going right up through the final hours of Election Day 2008.
The message couldn’t be simpler for voters, especially younger or inexperienced potential voters: simply register and vote. The organization is described as nonpartisan and part of a national nonprofit campaign.
Declare Yourself, voter registration and the Declaration of Independence
How does the Declaration of Independence come into the whole Declare Yourself movement? Norman Lear happened to buy one of the 25 originals of the Declaration of Independence after it was discovered hidden behind a framed painting at a flea market and brought to his attention. It has been part of a nationwide tour, along with related efforts to reach out to younger voters.
Declare Yourself seems centered on finding online and other ways for younger voters to register to vote
At the organization’s website, found here: www.declareyourself.com the layout is very user friendly. For those new voters who may wonder how and when they have to register to vote, the site information explains it all, including what identification is required, how to register to vote online, information about voting for college students or those living away from home – and much more. There is even information about the difference between a primary, caucus and convention.
Seventeen magazine, American Eagle Outfitters, MySpace and other groups or stores catering to younger voters have partnered with Declare Yourself
All of this makes it easier for voters to register to vote. American Eagle even has a special limited edition T shirt with the word Vote standing out from the black background. Their online and retail stores have a special campaign to try and get those 18 year old and up to vote. The shirt could well become a collector’s item. At Seventeen magazine’s website, there are special commercials which show a young woman text messaging or using MySpace and then connects those activities to voter registration. The basic message seems to be that it can be just as simple to register as to send a text message or go onto MySpace.
Those going on MySpace are likely to find a Declare Yourself page which supports the “register to vote” message.
The MySpace page (found here: www.myspace.com/declareyourself) has a very hip and edgy vibe to it. As might be expected, music starts playing almost immediately and a video message appears (when I visited the site, someone from the group, Panima, was featured) and there are audio instructions on how to register to vote – right there on MySpace. There are also basic questions answered about the primary, voter registration deadlines and more. As with the Seventeen magazine, American Eagle Outfitters and other pages, the graphics are bold and the information is easy to find.
The Declare Yourself campaign has even teamed up with Six Flags and even helped launch a book
At Six Flags, those who volunteer to help with voter registration may be able to get free admission into the park (if they are part of the DY Street Teamers) To help entice potential voters into Six Flags, a number of concerts are planned, featuring Sean Kingston, Raven, Flo Riba, Mario and others. Of course, the rides and other features of Six Flags Amusement Park ought to be plenty attractive already. For those who want to find the book related to the whole campaign, all they have to do is check out the main website.
The ultimate goal? To get at least 2 million new voters registered to vote. With the huge array of partners and online groups as well as retail stores and other venues that cater to young citizens, Declare Yourself could really make a difference in the 2008 election. From amusement parks to American Eagle clothing stores…..MySpace to Seventeen magazine…the youth demographic seems targeted for record registration in election year 2008.
Declare Yourself website: www.declareyourself.com/
Declare Yourself MySpace page: www.myspace.com/declareyourself
American Eagle outfitters Declare Yourself space: www.ae.com/web/77e/declareyourself/
Seventeen magazine Declare Yourself space: www.seventeen.com/magazine/special/voting-hub-0508