Jefferson Center’s plan to engage young voters wins Knight News Challenge award

Jefferson Center, a public-policy nonprofit in St. Paul, is a winner in the Knight News Challenge on Elections, with it’s plan to engage millennial voters in Akron, Ohio.

The group will get $35,000 from the Knight Challenge to implement its initiative, “Up for Debate Ohio,” which will “recommend opportunities for local media to be more responsive to the information needs of younger voters. Local media outlets will use the input from young voters to shape their coverage of the 2015 Akron mayoral election.”

The idea was one of 22 winners in the challenge. There were 1,008 submissions.

The Jefferson Center says many young voters “cite negative campaigning and a lack of substantive information as primary reasons they avoid the polls.”

Kyle Bozentko, executive director of the Jefferson Center, said that while young Americans are committed to strengthening their communities:

Many, unfortunately, feel disconnected from electoral politics, especially at the local level. Up for Debate Ohio will generate insight into the best opportunities to bring young people into dialogue about politics and the future of their community.

The Jefferson Center will work on the project with the Akron Beacon Journal, WKSU Public Radio, and the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. They say they’ll “share what they learn in an effort to create more substantive voter information resources for the 2016 campaign cycle.”

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