NAACP and PIRG launch Florida youth voter turnout program

New youth-led partnership aims to translate young voters’ enthusiasm into record turnout

Press Release

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 19, 2020

For More Information:
Dan Xie, Student PIRGs, Political Director, 858-353-1452, [email protected]
Wisdom Cole, NAACP Youth and College Division, National Organizing Manager, [email protected]

Nationwide  The NAACP, the nation’s largest and most highly recognized civil rights organization, and the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project, one of the country’s oldest and largest youth-led voter mobilization efforts, announced the last push of their youth get out the vote campaign Monday in Florida. In addition to working together, the Student PIRGs are providing the NAACP a grant to help expand the scope of the project during this crucial election.

“Young people are the largest and most diverse generation in America,” said Alex Gordon, a junior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. “We have the opportunity to elect leaders who reflect our values, but only if we turn out to vote. As the state chair of Florida PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Students and active member of the Eckerd College Afro-American Society, I am incredibly excited to partner with the NAACP to make sure young Black voters know how to cast their ballots safely while COVID-19 has upended the regular election process.”

A recent Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics (IOP) poll found that 63 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds indicated that they will “definitely be voting” in the 2020 presidential election, compared to 47 percent during the same time period before the 2016 election.

“An entire generation of socially conscious potential voters are coming to the fore as a result of the pandemic and civil unrest this year,” said Wisdom Cole, national organizing manager for the NAACP’s Youth and College Division. “This joint youth turnout campaign will ensure that young Black voters in Florida know their options and don’t miss any deadlines.”

While youths’ enthusiasm is high, their knowledge of how to vote lags behind other age groups. Most alarmingly, a poll this summer found that, compared to other races and ethnicities in their age group, 18- to 29-year-old Black voters were the least likely to have seen information about voting by mail (57 percent) compared to Asian youth (70 percent), Latino youth (67 percent), and White youth (63 percent).

“We’re enthusiastic about this partnership with the New Voters Project which will support our youth focused civic engagement work as a part of our Black Voices Change Lives campaign,” said Dominik Whitehead, NAACP National Civic Engagement Director.

The campaign was launched in partnership with data science firm GSSA to recruit high-propensity Black voters as volunteers to encourage low-frequency Black voters to vote.

Over the next 16 days, Florida PIRG and NAACP chapters at colleges and universities across the state are planning joint trainings, reaching out to potential voters via phone banks and text banks, and holding educational events to get out the vote and answer any questions young voters may have. Students from more than a dozen campuses statewide have signed-up for a phone bank on National Vote Early Day, October 24th, 2020.

About Florida PIRG
 Florida PIRGs’ voter registration and turnout effort is part of its New Voters Project campaign, one of the largest nonpartisan youth voter mobilization efforts in the country. The Student PIRGs New Voters Project has run peer-to-peer student voter mobilization drives to turn out the youth vote on college campuses for more than 30 years. We believe that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. The New Voters Project does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, any political candidates or political parties for elected office.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.