Americas & Beyond | June 2008
|OVF Launches Youth Vote Overseas Website|
Overseas Vote Foundation announced the first site designed specifically for young voters abroad, Youth Vote Overseas, at the 6th Annual American Democracy Project (ADP) National Meeting on June 12, 2008 in Snowbird, Utah.
The Youth Vote Overseas website enables users to easily navigate the complicated overseas absentee voting process by helping them fill out the registration form online and providing the mailing address, instructions and resources for further information.
The site also provides individual state deadlines and transmission options for receiving and sending ballots, as well as the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot for registered voters whose ballots don’t arrive in time.
"Young voters came out in droves to vote in the presidential primaries and caucuses in the U.S. this spring – 30 percent of our registrants are between the ages of 18 and 29," stated Marina Mecl, Director of Voter Outreach for OVF and program manager of the Youth Vote Overseas initiative. "This new ‘millennial voter’ website responds to a growing trend in young voter participation. Overseas absentee voter registration used to be a daunting task, but with our site and services, it isn’t anymore. OVF can ensure that young voters overseas have the tools to participate in this election as easily as those in the U.S."
As the sponsor of the Youth Vote Overseas website and 2008 program, Carnegie Corporation of New York is pleased to support the growing civic participation of young voters abroad with these essential services in anticipation of the registration spike in September and October.
The Youth Vote Overseas initiative started last fall when a young OVF volunteer in Japan, Samantha Hammer, started a Facebook group called "Youth Vote Overseas." At the same time, OVF focused its nonpartisan outreach to young voters through university and student abroad program contact. "The Youth Vote Overseas site provides a real focal point for young voters overseas, many of which might not realize that if they will be 18 on Election Day, November 4th, they can register right now. We expect it to take off like wildfire in the global student community," declared Ms. Hammer.
"Millennials are a special generation of young people," said Ms. Mecl. "They are extremely engaged and concerned about our government and the well being of our nation and the world. The interactive design of the Youth Vote Overseas website expresses the dynamic energy of this enthusiastic new generation of voters. We hope that international access to the site helps them reach out and educate their peers, and that the Youth Vote Overseas initiative conveys to them that their vote matters."
Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), founded in 2005, is the first and only nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) public charity organization dedicated to serving the voter registration needs of uniformed and overseas American citizens who wish to participate in federal elections by providing online access to innovative voter registration tools and services.
The American Democracy Project (ADP) is a multi-campus initiative focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. The project began in 2003 as an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with The New York Times.
For further information, see yvo.overseasvotefoundation.org, aascu.org or contact youth(at)overseasvotefoundation.org.