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Situating Millennials' Political Attitudes and Low Electoral Participation: An Analysis of Young Americans' Civic Engagement and Voter Turnout

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Millennials turn out to vote at significantly lower rates than the rest of the population, sparking commentary on their apathy and lack of contributions to American society. This thesis attempts to paint an accurate description of why these trends have

Millennials turn out to vote at significantly lower rates than the rest of the population, sparking commentary on their apathy and lack of contributions to American society. This thesis attempts to paint an accurate description of why these trends have persisted in the past, and finds that there are many complex reasons that serve as explanations. Many of these reasons can be explained by an analysis of Millennials' characteristics and political attitudes, which research has found includes a prioritization of achievement and Independent political ideologies. Additionally, by differentiating between civic engagement and political engagement, data and research find that Millennials choose forms of civic participation over political participation as an active choice and alternative avenue for electoral participation. Ultimately, Millennials are disillusioned with the politically polarized landscape and are unable to navigate the saturated information environment to make confident voting decisions. The rest of the thesis explores organizations, campaigns, and potential reforms that attempt to turn out Millennials. A thorough evaluation of campaigns' and nonpartisan organizations' efforts reveal the best practices for reaching Millennials, which include prioritizing substantive policy discussions, implementing grassroots and bottom-up organizational strategies, and avoiding flashiness and pandering. Another clear area for potential reform is civic education, which is currently not prioritized in the public education system. Some education reforms that would be particularly effective at reversing these negative trends include allowing for political debate within the classroom, teaching civics through more vibrant and hands-on curriculum and directly highlighting and perpetuating the importance of voting in the classroom. This thesis evaluates these and many other potential policy reforms that will encourage Millennials' political engagement as they further enter into adulthood.

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2017-05

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"Moving Forward: Developing our Community Today, for Tomorrow"

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Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as

Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as community building and development. Because of the former definition many members of our society have a tendency to not embrace the full potential of their community roles. It is always about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat, who looks better, or who has a better name. Now it must be noted that this is not in absolute, not all members of our society work in this thought process, but many still do. If that doesn't come as a surprise to you, then the simplicity of how you can be an engaged member will. As a student attending Arizona State University at the West campus in Phoenix, Arizona, I have chosen to challenge the traditional view of civic engagement and prepare this development plan for the campus community. Having done so, I not only discovered the paths that one can take to be engaged in such matters, but also continued my role as a civil servant.

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2015-05