Leslie Dodson, a Center Point native and an Indiana University student, participated in the 2004 National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) New Millennium Young Voters Summit on Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C. with Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita.
Dodson is participating in Indiana University's Washington, D.C., Leadership Program.
Rokita asked Dodson and several other students to attend the Young Voters 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."
The chief election officials from each state were encouraged to attend and to bring at least one young person from their respective states to participate in the one-day summit focused on reaching out to young people and increasing voter turnout among young adults.
"I'm very impressed with these young Hoosiers. They understand the importance of civic participation and made a significant contribution to the Young Voters Summit," Rokita said.
Highlights of the summit included a presentation of the latest research on the voting habits of young adults, state success stories, suggestions for making 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, also addressed the summit.