How to Get Millennials to Vote? Shirtless Models and Party Buses
Policy + Politics

How to Get Millennials to Vote? Shirtless Models and Party Buses

The midterm elections are just one week away and campaigns, advocacy groups and other organizations are doing just about anything to get young people to vote next Tuesday—including shipping them to the polls in party buses filled with shirtless, male models. 

That’s the deal at North Carolina State University anyway. 

The largest college in the battleground state happened to win Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “first-ever party bus contest” intended to encourage young people to vote—with the help of models, “swag” and snacks, of course. 

Related: How Young, Independent Voters May Change America 

“On Election Day, a bus decked out with snacks, swag, and models will roll up to North Carolina State University," the magazine’s website says. “The bus will shuttle students back and forth to a nearby polling location so students can vote.” 

Cosmopolitan Magazine, for its part, has endorsed N.C. Democratic Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan over her Republican challenger state House Speaker Thom Tillis. Earlier this year, The New York Times noted that if young people don’t turn out this election, Hagan could likely lose her seat. Since then, Democrats have aggressively been ramping up the pressure to get millennials to the polls. 

Meanwhile, other organizations are taking equally unique approaches to encourage young people to vote this midterm election season. 

Earlier this month, Rock the Vote, an organization dedicated to youth political engagement, aired a 3-minute online video seeping with millennialism to inspire young people to vote in November. It featured Lil John accompanied by Lena Dunham and other celebrities parodying his “Turn Down for What” music video while offering up what issues would make them "Turn Out for What" at the polls this year.

Related: As Millennials Lose Ground, So Will the Economy 

Still, no matter how many celebrities Rock the Vote jams into its videos, or how many buses Cosmopolitan stuffs with male models, voter turnout rates among young people are likely to remain quite low. 

A survey released by Harvard University earlier this year revealed that 23 percent of people ages 18-34 say they will “definitely be voting” in November.  That’s down from the measly 24 percent that showed up at the polls in 2010. 

The young cohort’s disenchantment with elections has even sparked a spate of tech startups to try to make voting more appealing to young people. 

TurboVote, which popped up in 2012, allows people to register to vote online and shoots off texts and emails to remind users to show up at the polls. 

Other startups like ElectNext and Electorate.Me have attempted to provide a more user-friendly approach to researching candidates and races. Though neither received much traction.

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