Staff Editorial: Youth rocks the vote, nation to its bedrock

Long chastised for their political disinterest and lack of drive, youth voters have proven their voice is loud and clear.

According to news reports, turnout among voters ages 18 to 29 on Tuesday exceeded even that of the 2004 election, which saw higher numbers of youth voters, thanks to national voter awareness and such registry programs as Rock the Vote.

High youth turnout to polls, and a higher voter turnout overall is a refreshing reminder that our age group can respond to and influence the results of a national election en masse.

The high stakes of this election, after eight years of one of the nation's least popular presidents, also shows that our generation cares enough about pertinent issues such as gay rights, abortion rights, health care and the economy to show up at polling places and cast their votes.

Youth voters, preferring president elect Barack Obama to Sen. John McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent according to exit polls reported on MSNBC, undoubtedly swayed the outcome of the 2008 election.

Though the potential power of younger voters to decide the country's next president has long been touted, this year's presidential election has displayed the muscle that our demographic holds in the sphere of national politics.

Campus groups, most notably Think Globally, Vote Locally, as well as events such as Rock the Vote and the mock presidential debate held earlier this semester, no doubt played a huge role in creating a campus community that was concerned about and discussing the forthcoming supercharged election.

It is safe to imagine that a similar climate existed in campuses across the country - young, educated citizens voicing their opinions and subsequently making them heard on both the local and national arenas of government.

The results of the 2008 election made it clear that young constituents have things to say about the political world they live in, and the power to influence it. Tuesday night's election results announcing Barack Obama as the future president of the United States were heard around the world, and young voters were a part of that voice.