As you all’ probably know there is an election this November, and this year’s election process seems to be quite different from previous years. More candidates have made an effort to create social networks and be visible online. This has made it feel like the voters are closer to the candidates than previous races, and caused many individuals of all ages to try to spread the word about the various candidates in places that aren’t the best for sharing this information.’ I’ve witnessed an increase in debates recently’ at work, on the radio and even on one of YALSA’s listservs.
As librarians it’s our job to provide information about all sides of all issues along with information about registering to vote.’ What we sometimes forget is that since our society is a democracy, we must let everyone make decisions about a candidate on their own, which when you feel passionately about something can be hard to do. While it can be difficult, we can’t share our personal convictions with others because we have to have faith in the system and the people to make the decision that is best for them. Imagine how hard it must be for teens who do not get a chance to vote in this year’s election to keep their opinions about which candidate is best fit for a position. While we want to encourage them to be interested in the election process, we also can help them find healthy places to talk about the candidates.
While teens can’t vote there are some websites available to help them understand the election process, talk about the issues, and host their own election.
Rock the Vote is geared toward voters under 30, encouraging them to vote, read and discuss the candidates stand on issues. The teen version UrVoteCounts features more tween stars, and encourages teens to think about what they would do if they could vote
Scholastic is offering teachers resources about elections, and hosting a Student Vote for President election.
PBS has developed a website, called the Vote, which uses short videos to illustrate the election process while talking about specific issues. Also on this website focusing on the general election teachers and librarians can find downloadable lesson plans about the election process.
Teen Vogue has also created a blog called Political partner to host conversations about the election.
Myspace is even getting into the election providing teens a place to talke abou the presidental candidates on Myspace Impact which focuses on many issues and Decision08 which is set up as a friendable profile.
Lastly, Campus Activism. org has developed a Facebook application that allows college students to easily register for this year’s election. This seems like a interesting idea to encourage more youth to vote.
So as we enter this presidential election, we can encourage teens to find positive ways to not only learn about the candidates, but also talk about the candidates.