Election Day Highlights from the Field

Happy Election Day! Across the country, young people are making their voices heard and showing up to the polls in huge numbers compared to the 2016 election. I’m so incredibly proud of the work our team has done over the last eight months building a student-powered campaign to make sure that America’s largest generation was heard at the ballot box. Whether you’re looking at TargetSmart, Catalist, or CIRCLE (the latest released at 3:30 ET yesterday) it’s obvious that young people want to vote this election. It’s up to us to make sure they can.

I wanted to stop and take a minute to reflect on the great work we’ve done and share some more highlights. You can also follow my Twitter throughout the day for more updates from the field!

As of this afternoon, we’ve made more than 340,000 peer-to-peer reminders to vote! These conversations, from one student voter to another, will be what makes the difference in the last push. In just the last 24 hours, our team of more than 800 student volunteers:

  • Completed 1,400 hours of calling to young voters
  • Held 7,300 phone conversations and more than 3,200 text conversations 
  • Reached 10,000 additional students and young people by asking people we spoke to to text their friends about voting

As I’ve been calling voters this week and making sure everyone’s vote gets counted, I’m reminded that every single conversation we have makes a difference. Yesterday, I spoke with Lauren, a student who was wondering if she could still vote if she had moved since she registered. She is working from 5AM to 6PM today, so we made a plan for her to call her County Clerk on her break and she now knows that as long as she’s in line before 7PM, she’s eligible to cast her ballot.

“Your vote matters […] We have ideas we are passionate about and hopes about the future, and voting is the first step to doing that.”
 —Sydney Moran, University of Florida student and PIRG leader, quoted in the Gainesville Sun

“There are people that quite literally don’t have the option whether they aren’t able to vote if they’re not old enough, or they aren’t a citizen, for whatever reason. I feel like the people that can be involved need to do their best to be involved because we have to speak for the people who can’t.”
 —Ellie McCutchen, Early College of Forsyth and Forsyth Technical Community College student and PIRG leader, quoted in North Carolina’s WXII 12 station

Our team will be hitting the phones until the final polls close, so numbers are still rolling in, but as of 3PM Eastern we’re closing in on 2,000 conversations.

  • Our Michigan team has called through their list multiple times and is now helping the Michigan NAACP call their list
  • Our Florida team has walked more than 150 students through the process of curing their initially rejected mail-in ballots
“I was able to register [a voter] as well as her family to vote. And to me, that was very important and very special because she explained to me how difficult it is being an immigrant in this country, not speaking English and especially now with the pandemic.”
 —Melanie Egas, PIRG campus organizer, quoted in New Jersey’s News12
About The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project
PIRG New Voters Project, Inc. is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 4945(f) status. We work on 100 campuses across the country to activate the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, so we work to make sure every student has the opportunity to have their voice heard in our elections by building a culture of civic engagement on college campuses. We engage students, faculty, and administrators to build lasting systems of voter engagement for the long term.

Since 1984, our field based, non-partisan effort helped to register over 2 million young people and make over 3 million Get out the Vote contacts reminding young people where, when, and how to vote. We have tested new field models to ensure we are running the most effective civic engagement program possible. One study of our program showed that 76.3 percent of the voters we helped to register turned out to the polls, among the highest rates of all non-partisan voter registration efforts. 68.8 percent of voters we helped to register were brand-new registrants, making the project one of the most effective ways to bring new voters into the electoral process.
About The Student PIRGs
Students have the right and the responsibility to shape the future we will inherit. Our program spans over 100 campuses in 11 states, of which 35 campuses have self-funding programs, that provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For over 40 years we’ve helped our campus communities get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change. Every year, over 4,000 students gain hands-on experience in organizing and activism by volunteering with us to generate 150,000 grassroots actions.