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Mobile technology becomes powerful tool to get out the vote in 2008
Posted: 19-Dec-2007 [Source: AT&T]

[As the Iowa caucuses draw near, we are reminded that one-fifth of eligible voters will be under 30. AT&T and Rock the Vote announce plans to use mobile technology to "help engage, educate and register million of people, between the ages of 18 and 29."]

Indianola, IA -- Texting all candidates, advisers, pundits and political junkies. During an election season in which more than one-fifth of eligible voters will be younger than 30, AT&T Inc. and Rock the Vote today announced plans to use mobile technology in 2008 to help engage, educate and register millions of people, between the ages of 18 and 29, in an effort to build on recent increases in young voter turnout. How? By communicating with young people in their "native tongue."

Rock the Vote and AT&T announced plans for the program today at a mock caucus for 300 Iowa high school students, an event that's part of Rock the Vote's Rock the Caucus program. The Iowa program is one component of Rock the Vote's nationwide 2008 mobilization program. Rock the Vote plans to register 2 million people from the target demographic to vote in 2008, which would be the largest youth voter registration campaign in history by more than three times. In addition to registration, RTV will use new technologies like mobile to educate and engage these young voters.

"The AT&T and Rock the Vote campaign will engage young people where they are -- through a device that nearly never leaves their hands -- and encourage them to actively participate in the democratic process," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO for AT&T's wireless services.

"The 2008 elections are shaping up to be the third in a row with strong young-voter turnout," said Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote. "We know the best way to engage this increasingly active generation is through personal outreach, and wireless phones are intensely personal for young people. For that reason, our mobile partnership with AT&T will be critical to Rock the Vote's efforts to register 2 million young voters in 2008 and get them to the polls on Election Day."

In 2004, turnout of 18- to 29-year-olds jumped by 4.3 million votes compared with 2000 levels, and in 2006, turnout grew another 1.9 million from the previous midterm election. In 2008, 44 million young voters will be eligible to vote, a large and potentially powerful voting bloc.

The AT&T and Rock the Vote campaign will employ wireless applications such as cross-carrier text message opt-in lists for election news and reminders, voter-registration updates and tools to facilitate increased registration. The campaign will also feature exclusive celebrity ringtones that promote the importance of voting, text-polling, reports from student journalists and event sponsorships, among other initiatives. Content from the program will be made available to consumers of all ages. Details on individual elements of the campaign will be made available throughout 2008.

The announcement comes as the 2008 election season swings into high gear with the approaching Iowa caucuses, a crucial first contest at which Iowa's young voters could play a significant role.

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