By Rachel Hornay, Copy Writer Intern
It has become that time of the year when political campaigns are everywhere in the media. This election year there is a huge number of millennials who are able to vote. According to ABC News, millennials have edged out baby boomers as the largest living generation in U.S. history — with over 75 million of them coming of age to vote in this election.
The issue is how to get young voters out to the polls on Election Day. This has not been an easy feat. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voting rates among 18- to 24-year-olds for all elections have dropped from 50.9 percent in 1964 to 38 percent in 2012.
So, how are millennials learning how to exercise their right to vote this election? Some companies have stepped up to the plate to educate young voters about their rights.
One of the pioneers in encouraging young people to vote is a nonprofit organization called Rock the Vote. With the backing of the entertainment industry, Rock the Vote’s mission has been to register young people to vote and participate in the political process since the 1990s. This year, the Rock the Vote 2016 message, “Truth to Power,” aims to register an additional 2 million voters before November and drive turnout among voters under 30 in the battleground states. The PSA for Rock the Vote continues with celebrity ads and a video series with Funny or Die in which the site’s comedians will participate in the “Truth to Power” campaign.
Many have assumed that Rock the Vote was created by MTV, but the partnership has always been a natural fit. The Rock the Vote PSA has always been aired on MTV stations, but this election year MTV has its own plan to get young voters excited about the election: Talk about the issues. The network has launched its new campaign, “Elect This,” to help drive millennials to the polls with an anthem spot featuring a number of images capturing the various hot-button topics relevant to this audience. The network is essentially a fixture in youth politics. The launch of this new campaign builds on its history of advocating for younger voters’ political participation.
This year’s election season and recent events have resulted in heated discussions around the country and on social media. Millennials use social media the most as a platform to get their voice heard, and Tumblr is helping to stoke conversation about these hot-button issues. Tumblr, in partnership with MTV’s Elect This, voting initiative is hosting a series of virtual Q&A’s called IssueTime. Each IssueTime brings together a panel of experts to answer users’ questions about a different social issue. Tumblr also will sponsor “Day of Action” takeovers with various advocacy and nonprofit organizations, posting content about these organizations and encouraging users to volunteer there. The goal is to drive more users to Tumblr and get more young people to vote.
There’s a real concern that millennials aren’t going to show up to vote this year. These are a few organizations that are putting forth efforts to get young people involved in the election. Campaigns that continue to urge young people to exercise their right to vote not only send a message to the millennials who haven’t registered to vote, but they also build a brand relationship with the young voters. As a brand, it is a smart move to position yourself as a promoter of millennials’ voting rights, but it also can change the perception of the brand in a young audience’s eyes, which can lead to a brand gaining brand loyalty to the new wave of millennials.