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Democrats appeal to youth and activist voters online

November 17, 2003
By: Kate Amburgey
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -In an appeal to attract youth voters and Democratic activists, the Missouri Democratic Party has launched a weblog- an electronic bulletin board where Missourians can voice and respond to commentary on state and national issues.

"The blog is setup as a technological counterpart to a town hall", said Jim Gardner, communications director for the Democratic Party, said."We hope that it will help people form opinions and spur them into political activism."

The Missouri Republican Party will continue to use its regular website and is not planning to launch its own weblog, said Paul Sloca, communications director for the Republican Party.

Popularized by Howard Dean's presidential campaign, campaign workers nationwide have begun using weblogs to "attract attention, sustain morale, and disseminate ideas," according to the META Group, a provider of information technology research.

State weblog creators hope for similar results.

"The blog is not about the democratic party putting information out there, but about listening to the concerns of Missouri's democratic voters," said Jim Kottmeyer, executive director of the Democratic Party.

In the 2000 election, Democrats lost 10 House of Representative races by a total of 1600 votes and Gardner says the party hopes the blog will motivate people with the same ideas as Democrats to vote and prevent a repeat Republican win of both the State Senate and House of Representatives.

"We can't predict the impact the blog will have on the next election, but we are confident that by spreading the Democratic message voters will make the right decisions," Kottmeyer said.

The Democratic National Committee has a weblog, entitled "Kicking Ass," which serves as a communication link between politicians in Washington and the rest of America.

The Missouri Democratic Party hopes the weblog will serve as a link between the parties ideologies and younger voters.

"We are taking traditional political tools of interaction and making the conducive to younger voters who have worked with online resources almost their entire lives," Gardner said.

In 2000, only 42 percent of eligible voters between 18 and 25 voted in the presidential election.