We set out this fall to show the country that America’s largest generation votes. Based on what we know so far, not only did we show that young people vote, we showed the country that they persevered and overcame challenges to make their voices heard in this unprecedented time in our country.
Since the passing of John Lewis earlier this year, I’ve taken time to reflect on his legacy as a voting rights leader and a young activist.
“If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.” – John Lewis
I like to imagine this is what he would’ve said to us during our first national New Voters Project call this summer, because we did just that. Despite the challenges of organizing in a world affected by COVID-19, we did not give up.
It was because of your hope and optimism that we reached millions of people across the country helping them register to vote, navigate new voting laws, make plans to vote safely, and get involved with us to make a difference in the election.
I am incredibly proud of the work we accomplished this fall!
Our accomplishments in the final days
- We reached more than 1 million young people through phone calls, text messages, class announcements, and activating listservs. Through this effort we shared important voting resources like our Young Voter Resource Guide.
- We made 366,000 get-out-the-vote contacts with young people helping them make plans to vote. In the final 4 days before Election Day we talked to many students who would not have voted if it weren’t for the conversation that our volunteers had over the phone.
- We partied at the polls (virtually of course) with keynote speakers, campus coalition partners, and over 1,000 volunteers who helped us make the final push on Election Day.
While we’re still waiting for the rest of results to come in, including mail in ballots, we can be sure of one thing: young people are turning out in high numbers this election season and in large part due to the work we did in our states.
Highlights from the Field:
We had So. Many. Conversations!
Our work in the Media
The Gainesville Sun
“A lot of people don’t think their vote counts, but we’re not seeing that come up as an issue this year. We have ideas we are passionate about and hopes about the future, and voting is the first step to doing that.” Sydney Moran, a Get Out the Student Vote coordinator and University of Florida student
WXII 12 North Carolina Channel 12
“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,” says Ellie McCutchen, who’s a student at both Early College of Forsyth and Forsyth Technical Community College. “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.”
News 12 New Jersey
“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, NJPIRG Students
“During the pandemic, Student PIRGs has shifted to remote tactics such as phone calls and text messages to reach students across the country more than 600,000 times in the days ahead of registration deadlines.” – Manny Rin
The State Journal-Register
“My generation wants a say in the direction that our country moves in,” Loera added. “Obviously voting provides that avenue for change. It’s kind of being able to frame your vote as your voice.” – Eric Loera