Rallying Teens for the Youth Vote

Eighteen-year-old talks to politicians and teens for vote-grabbing documentary.

ByABC News
July 23, 2007, 5:30 PM

July 23, 2007 — -- To David Burnstein, turning 18 was not just another candle on his birthday cake. It was a major milestone.

Sure, he could get behind the wheel of a car at 16 and would be able to pop a cold one at 21, but now, at 18, this high school senior has finally gained the right to vote, and has produced a film to encourage his peers to get just as excited about voting in the upcoming 2008 election as he is.

Despite the recent surge of support for candidates on the Internet reflected on such online forums as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook traditionally, young Americans do not vote.

Burnstein, however, hopes to reverse that trend in the upcoming presidential election. His documentary, "18 in '08," takes aim at young voters, attempting to get at the root of his peers' apparent uninterest in and disillusionment with all things political, to convince his generation that its voice matters.

"I think that I have a unique perspective, coming off as a young person, trying to figure out really what young people are engaged in and interested in," said Burnstein in an interview with ABC News. "I think this film has a lot of elements that really appeal to young people. It's very much on our level. It doesn't talk down to our generation."

His Own Campaign Trail

To create this documentary, Burnstein spent two years traveling the country while in high school, going to conventions and conferences, speaking with politicians, policymakers, presidential candidates, student activists and his peers.

Burnstein amassed more than 110 interviews with potential voters of all ages and political affiliations. His film also includes interviews with Sens. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., as well as former presidential candidates Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Gen. Wesley Clark, and current presidential candidate Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.