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Is the Internet an Effective Tool for Political Engagement During Elections?

From the Internet & Democracy Project...

One major challenge of mature democracies such as the US is political engagement of its citizens. America has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among the developed countries. It is particularly true for the young population. But has the trend begun to change noticeably? Is the Internet a factor in all this?

Young voter turnout in the US has steadily declined since the 1970s till the end of the century. According to the US Census Bureau’s Survey, people aged 18-24 accounted for 52.1% of the voter turnout rate in 1972 presidential election and it steadily declined to 36.1% in 2000. However, there was an astonishing 11 percentage point increase in 2004, accounting for 46.7% of the voter turnout rate. The trend has been quite similar for all major groups, white, Hispanic and African-American.


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