By Alexander Reed Kelly
I spent Friday night in Las Vegas with an estimated 115,000 young people at the country’s biggest dance party. They were there to have fun. I was there to annoy them with questions. Surprisingly, every single baby-faced millennial I talked to was registered to vote and planned to cast his or her ballot in the next election.
I came to Vegas to check out the latest effort by Rock the Vote to get young people to the polls. This year, it partnered with Insomniac, whose annual Electric Daisy Carnival quickly sells out and draws hordes to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
If I’m honest, I came with some skepticism, imagining earnest volunteers with clipboards trying to get presumably drug-addled youth to remember their driver’s license numbers with the music thumping at them from all directions.
It turns out the Rock the Vote people—they’re calling themselves Spin the Vote in this case—have an easy job. I spoke to a dozen or so young people, the oldest of whom was 22, and they all said they were already registered. They all planned to vote in the next election, even though none seemed particularly excited about it.
I mentioned how surprised I was that so many were politically engaged and one young woman told me: “They’re probably just trying to get you to leave them alone.” She quickly added that she and her friends weren’t lying. “I’m a registered Libertarian,” she said.
I put this to one of Spin the Vote’s booth jockeys, a guy named Addison Laro, aka DJ Wild Yeti. He said his favorite response was an indignant, “Of course I’m already registered. Like, who do you think I am?” Laro added that the key was getting to the 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds who may not have participated in an election cycle yet.
These are the raving masses and if they vote like they promised, they could decide the next election.
Peter Z. Scheer is in Las Vegas covering the youth vote. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.