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Youth Participation No. 278

Adopted 2004

Reaffirmed 2006

Reaffirmed 2007

       Americans for Democratic Action believes democracy works only if citizens involve themselves in the affairs of government: in planning, developing laws, development of leadership skills and resources, and implementing programs. Citizen participation enhances the legitimacy and efficacy of government action. This involvement spurs the development of leadership skills and resources of citizens who frequently are excluded from the political process.

        Young voters are the least likely to participate. The largest generation of Americans has the lowest voter turnout of all age groups. Consequently, their political voice is seldom heard. For the future health of America’s democracy, these young citizens must become involved in the political arena. To this end, ADA recommends that candidates for office, government officials, and all political organizations:

  • Implement outreach to the youngest constituents through music, schools, sports, television, radio, and celebrities.
  • Provide clearer explanations of how laws and governmental decisions affect the day-to-day activities of Americans of all ages.
  • Use the Internet to advertise to and inform younger voters about policy, rallies, meetings, elections, etc.
  • Encourage young people to educate themselves about and enter the fields of policy, politics, and government.
  • Support in whatever way possible organizations that voice the agenda of the youngest generation and facilitate their involvement in the political process.
  • Seek out and address the concerns of young voters.
  • Mandate a national education standard in American politics and the election process that encourages participation.
  • Conduct voter registration campaigns targeted to younger voters

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No. 278
Politics and Government Policy Commission