Monday, April 21, 2008

CNN Launches ‘League of First Time Voters’ to Inform, Involve, Empower

Responding to the intense interest the American public has shown in the upcoming election, CNN will launch the “League of First Time Voters,” a multi-platform programming initiative designed to inform, involve and empower individuals passionate about this election cycle.

Beginning today, the day before Pennsylvania voters head to the polls, the League of First Time Voters will launch its online home, available at and The special section will provide users with practical, convenient access to the most current election information. Content will include an interactive map, clickable by state, that reveals voter registration information and state-specific facts and data; detailed candidate profiles and platforms; examination of salient issues; current delegate counts; an extensive video archive allowing users to hear from the candidates in their own words – raw and uncensored; and links to relevant political Web sites and other resources.

“Millions of viewers, incredibly energized by this presidential campaign and by these candidates, have turned to CNN for our independent, incisive political coverage and debate programming,” said CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein. “The League provides us with the opportunity to empower those who haven’t voted before and those who haven’t taken part in the election process to have a voice this political season.”

These new voters – many of whom are young, new U.S. citizens or simply energized by this election unlike ever before – will also be examined by CNN’s Rick Sanchez in a series of special reports that will appear across CNN’s television and networks and digital platforms. Sanchez, who will interview Pennsylvania residents in the lead-up to that state’s primary, will report on what motivates these new voters and will examine the impact they may have on Election Day. These segments will air regularly on American Morning beginning with today’s launch and throughout the weekends on CNN.

“More people are turning to online news sites for election news this year than ever before, and the League will help them stay informed and get connected,” said Mitch Gelman, senior vice president and executive producer of “We are excited to create a place for people to find simple, fun ways to learn more about the candidates, issues and events that will inform their important choices.”

According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, there were nearly 200 million individuals eligible to vote in 2004. Of those eligible voters, only 142 million registered to vote, and 125 million went to the polls to cast a ballot in the 2004 presidential election.

By signing up at, users will have access to additional benefits, including details on new polls, sneak peeks at new enhancements to the site and special e-mail alerts and newsletters.

League members also will be encouraged to share their firsthand accounts of what the election process means to them through video, photo, audio and text submissions to, CNN’s recently launched user-generated community Web site. Those iReports related to the League of First Time Voters will be available at, and contributors also may gain recognition by having the material they submit to the site – once vetted and approved for use – appear on a CNN network or

Additionally, the popular Election Express Yourself – CNN’s Airstream trailer chock-full of activities that give people the chance to make their voices heard – will provide a place for League members to gather in person as it travels the country, including to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. All these efforts are part of CNN’s move to make the League of First Time Voters a lasting initiative that keeps new voters from all walks of life engaged in the civic process.

Following the national party conventions in August and September, will also provide users with simple tools for connecting the League with the broader world of social media already happening on the Web, including a League of First Time Voters Badge for participants to upload to their profile pages on social-networking sites.

CNN is in a unique position to launch this civic effort. In the first quarter of 2008, CNN has had more P25-54, 18-49 and 18-34 viewers in prime time than the competition. The network also hosted nine of the Top 10 most-watched presidential primary debates in cable news history and posted more ratings wins for 2008 primary nights than any other cable news network.

As part of the network’s comprehensive coverage, the CNN Election Express has traveled the country, allowing CNN correspondents to talk with concerned voters everywhere and to air the long-form political programming “Ballot Bowl,” where viewers hear from the candidates directly and not in sound-bite form. CNN has also made innovation its trademark through initiatives such as the CNN/YouTube debates, John King’s “multi-touch” wall, the CNN Political Ticker blog and online delegate counter, the CNN Election Center in New York with its graphics capabilities and the 2005 launch of Wolf Blitzer’s political program The Situation Room where the newest technology is combined with traditional hard news.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

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