Young Hoosiers to Participate in D.C. Youth Voter Summit

Contact: Cam Savage

Indianapolis, IN -- Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita and four Hoosier high school and college students will be attending the 2004 National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) New Millennium Young Voters Summit on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

Rokita, who serves as chairman of the NASS Voter Participation committee, asked the students to attend the Youth Summit and help him bring back to Indiana ideas for increasing voter participation among young people.

"It's vitally important that young people be a part of this discussion," Rokita said. "I'm convinced young voters are the solution to continued gradual decline in voter turnout and participation, but we have to include them from the beginning. As election administrators, there is much we can learn from these students about how to engage younger Americans in the political process."

Two of the students attending the Youth Summit from Indiana, Terre Haute North High School seniors A.J. Patton and Andrew Grimes, met Secretary Rokita while visiting the Indiana State Capitol on a school field trip. Paul Martin, a student at Indiana University - East, in Richmond, met Rokita through a college government course project. Martin's class researched a variety of Indiana election issues and presented their findings to the Secretary of State. Another Hoosier, Meghann Thomas, a student at William and Mary University, will also attend the Youth Summit with Rokita.

"I'm very impressed with these young Hoosiers. They understand the importance of civic participation and will make a significant contribution to the Youth Summit," Rokita said.

The chief election officials from each state have been encouraged to attend and to bring at least one young person from their states to participate in the one-day summit focused on reaching out to young people and increasing voter turnout among young adults.

Highlights of the summit will include a presentation of the latest research on the voting habits of young adults, a congressional panel, state success stories, suggestions as to how to make voting more accessible, views from young adults regarding the challenges involved in voting and the obstacles to getting involved, and recommendations as to how to improve the sense of civic responsibility in young people.

Political strategist and commentator Donna Brazile and Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, are also scheduled to address the Youth Summit.

The Youth Summit comes at the conclusion of the annual NASS winter meeting. This free event requires advance registration. Please contact NASS at (202) 624-3525 or for more information. Registration is closed for this event.

The summit agenda and bios of summit presenters are attached.