By: CJ Cassidy
Cape Girardeau, MO - With elections just around the corner, political candidates find themselves using new tools to vie for voters.
We live in the computer age, with just about any information right at our fingertips. So, small wonder political candidates would turn to the Internet to further their cause.
Historically, younger voters have been tough to reach; but now, candidates may have found a way to connect.
They've plugged in to websites college students access all the time.
The question now, are young voters paying attention?
You wouldn't expect to see Missouri Senate candidates pop up on websites like Facebook or MySpace, but campaign organizers for both parties say hundreds of young voters are logging on to look them up.
Profiles on those sites have also helped start student volunteer groups pitching in to help the party of their choice.
What then, has young voters so keyed up? We took the issue to some Southeast Missouri State students.
"I access the Internet a lot so I see both people running, and it's better to form an opinion that way, rather than seeing one candidate sporadically on TV," political science major Cory Schulz says.
"You're wondering what's this, instead of here's another commercial," Neal Grossheider says.
But while some students find negative ads amusing, democrat and republican representatives aren't laughing.
They say social networking ads and blog sites are not governed by campaign regulations, leaving candidates wide open for attacks based on rumor and speculation.
Young voters say, anything goes in cyberspace, but not even the most radical ideas capture everyone's attention.
"I try to find my own facts out," one student said.
"You're looking for things you're interested in on the computer, not ads and anything political really," another student, Trae Blount, said.
Incidentally MySpace has partnered with a non-partisan group, and is running ads encouraging members to register to vote.
According to the site, 80% of it's users are old enough to vote.