DFL Party aims to increase younger voter participation

Megan Boldt

As this weekend’s Democratic caucuses approach, the DFL Party continues to attract young people to the voting booths.
“We have really stepped up to get younger voters involved,” said Karen Louise Boothe, communications director for the DFL Party. “We really think the 20-something vote can turn the tides of the election.”
She said young voters feel like candidates, and parties do not listen to them or take them seriously. The party has to reach them before they become disenfranchised.
“This whole notion of the disengaged voter does not apply to the 20-something group,” Boothe said.
Aaron Street, co-chairman of the University College Democrats, said while the organization has not done much to promote the caucuses, some members have organized speakers from different campaigns to come to the University.
Rob Lafrentz, president of Gophers for Gore, said his organization has been putting up signs and sending out e-mails to spread the word about the caucuses.
“Right now, it just seems too far off from the November elections, so students are not interested,” he said.
But once students are contacted, they seem interested in getting involved, Lafrentz said.
Bill Lofy, state director of the Minnesota Bill Bradley campaign, said Bradley has support among the younger crowd.
“(Bradley) brings a sense of reform, and young people in particular are looking for that type of leadership,” Lofy said.
He added that Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has a Students for Bradley group. The volunteers call and e-mail students to garner support for the former New Jersey senator. Some students have even gone to other states to help the campaign.
“About 20 students from the University went to New Hampshire to campaign,” Lofy said.
The party will hold caucuses on both Saturday and Sunday, departing from its usual date on Super Tuesday. Some party officials say the change to weekend meetings will bring younger voters.
Lafrentz is skeptical that students will be encouraged to go out and vote if their caucus is on a Saturday morning.
“It will be a big chore,” he said.

Megan Boldt covers government and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3212.