In December, filmmaker Andrew Jenks hit the road to talk with young voters ? and the Republican candidates currently courting them ? as part of MTV's Power of 12 campaign, our ongoing coverage of the 2012 election. And, well, let's hope he packed a big suitcase.
Because for the next 11 months ? from the pre-primary stump speeches to the last minute of Election night ? Jenks will be working overtime for MTV, covering the race for the White House and amplifying the voices of the 45 million voters ages 18 to 29, who not only make up one of the largest voting blocs, but genuinely hold the power to swing the election.
The first of his reports, "Our Voice," premiered Tuesday (December 20) on MTV, and can be seen in this story. In it, we follow Jenks as he crosses the country interviewing young voters ? everyone from high-school students concerned about attending college and members of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests to the recently graduated unemployed and returning war veterans. The 25-year-old filmmaker gets their take on the issues that matter the most, and scores face time with a handful of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
"Our Voice" is just the first phase of MTV's Power of 12 series, which will also include the MTV News docu-series "When I Was 22," which gives viewers a unique look at the lives of the men who may be president, painting a portrait of each candidate in their early 20s. The online game "Fantasy Election '12" will allow users to draft a team of candidates pursuing the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, and rack up points, just like in fantasy baseball or football. The first-of-its-kind game also rewards players for getting involved in the electoral process ? they'll get extra points for registering to vote, "checking in" to town halls and debates, and discussing issues with friends.
MTV News will begin its coverage of the election on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Jenks and MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway at the helm.
For more on MTV's election coverage, check out the official Power of 12 site.