On Tuesday, MTV will officially launch the Power of 12, our coverage of the 2012 election, beginning with the premiere of the documentary "Our Voice." The doc follows filmmaker Andrew Jenks as he crosses the country — and hits the campaign trail — to speak with young voters about the issues that concern them most, and the Republican candidates that are vying for their support.
"Our Voice" will debut Tuesday at 4:54 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. And if you think you know everything about the concerns of the nation's 45 million voters ages 18 to 29 (or the GOP hopefuls currently courting them), well, you're in for an eye-opener. Because, as the 25-year-old behind MTV's doc-style series "World of Jenks" told MTV News, he thought he did too. It was only when Jenks hit the road that he discovered how much he didn't know.
Check out a preview of 'Power of 12: Our Voice'!
"You read blogs or you watch the cable news, and you keep hearing that young voters are disenfranchised, that they don't trust the system or the politicians," Jenks said. "And sure, there's a feeling [among young voters] that the rug has been pulled out from underneath them, but at the same time, the thing that I kept hearing when I'd talk to them is, 'I'm optimistic.' They're concerned about the future of the country, but they're convinced it's not too late. People my age feel that they have the power to change the system, even if they think it's broken.
"When I first learned I'd be covering the Republican candidates, I was excited because I knew we'd be able to use this as a platform, to look at these candidates and ask, 'How are you going to speak to us, the young voters?' " he continued. "Because for really the first time, we do kind of have the power. We are 45 million people and we can tilt the election. They have to listen to us and speak with us, because we have the leverage."
"Our Voice" — which features interviews with GOP candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and more — is just the first phase of MTV's Power of 12 campaign, which aims to inform and engage young voters and amplify their voices throughout the 2012 elections.
Upcoming specials include "When I Was 22," an MTV News documentary kicking off in early 2012 that gives viewers a unique look at the lives of presidential hopefuls. Candidates will look back on their own lives — back when they were 22 years old. Each episode will paint a portrait of the candidate at a younger age, focusing on their dreams, triumphs, setbacks and the moments of resiliency that ultimately shaped their world view. Additionally, "Fantasy Election '12," an online game similar to fantasy baseball and football fantasy league games, that allows users to draft a team of candidates pursuing the White House, Senate and House of Representatives and rack up points. 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 Power of 12. And make sure to catch the premiere of "Our Voice" on Tuesday at 4:54 p.m. ET/PT on MTV!