Due to an overwhelming demand from students across the country who wanted to vote at the last minute, Youth-e-Vote, the United States' first national registration and online vote, extended voting by a day, to 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. The final tally was scheduled to be posted on the Youth-e-Vote Web site, www.youthevote.net, the same night.
Youth-e-Vote kicked off Oct. 23-24 when youngsters who attend a Channel One Network high school went online and cast the first votes in OneVote, a national online mock student election. Channel One Network provides television news and educational programs to secondary schools. The 877,000 votes from OneVote will be tallied with the Youth-e-Vote total.
Channel One voters used a personal identification number and ballot provided by Channel One. Teens cast their votes not only for president and vice president, but also for governor and U.S. senator in statewide races. They also expressed their views on national issues from the national student/parent mock election issues ballot.
The official sponsor of OneVote was Thinkronize, Cincinnati, a 1-year-old company that develops Internet educational tools for students and schools online.
“It's a good way to reach the core of our target audience,” said Dave Townsend, director of marketing at Thinkronize. “Channel One is in the middle schools and high schools. And they also reach teachers and educators, who are our targets as well.”
Thinkronize came on board to “make it feasible from a financial and technical point of view,” said Fred Sawabini, president of sales and marketing at Channel One.
Youngsters who voted on the Channel One Web site had access to a link to a Thinkronize product, digitalbackpack.com, where they registered for a sweepstakes for gifts such as computers, digital cameras, pagers, two-way radios, personal digital assistants, educational software and scholarships for up to $25,000. They also could become members of digitalbackpack.com, which gives them e-mail accounts, file storage, and — if they attend a school that subscribes to digitalbackpack — access to class lesson plans, calendars, homework and other information. The digitalbackpack Web site also has a link to another Thinkronize product, netTrekker.com, a research engine with educator-evaluated information that reflects a typical national curriculum.
Thinkronize helped defray the cost, advertised on Channel One and — with the help of corporate sponsors — supplied the gifts. Channel One contributed $100,000 for the scholarships.
OneVote culminated a nine-month effort by Channel One to inform teens about the political process. During those months, Channel One News provided extensive coverage of the presidential election.
“Voting is central to the democratic ideals of our nation,” said Jim Ritts, president/CEO of Channel One. “OneVote, combined with Channel One's ongoing news coverage of national issues, prepares teens throughout the United States to be educated voters and actively engages them in the electoral process.”
In Channel One, Thinkronize found a corporate partner that shares its mission and carries its message. “This opportunity with Channel One's OneVote fulfills an important part of our mission to empower and enable today's youth,” said Randy Wilhelm, president/CEO of Thinkronize.