Where are the youth?
Our democracy works best when as many people as possible participate. Unfortunately, rates of youth voter participation have historically been significantly lower than older age groups. There are many reasons for this – lack of knowledge and time to learn about candidates, difficulties changing registration when moving frequently, not believing that voting actually makes a difference, and just plain apathy. This is a paradigm that we refuse to let continue.
There is already a wave of youth passion and activism emerging as we collectively realize the world we are inheriting is unjust and unsustainable. This has been most pronounced in recent years with millions of youth-led climate actions taking place worldwide, from the global climate strike of 2019 and Sunrise Movement’s rise to prominence, to the Young Vermonters United Climate Resolution passed last year by the Vermont Youth Climate Congress. We are collectively creating channels to turn our indignation into political power.
This is all vital, and, as a young person myself, I feel honored to have been able to work with so many fellow youth activists involved in this movement. That being said, we would be remiss if we failed to capitalize on this energy by not showing up in record numbers at the polls (or mailing in our ballots – please vote by mail if you can!) as well in the 2020 election.
So how do we make 2020 the year more youth than ever before vote? We organize, of course!
It’s really quite simple, actually. There is a concept called “vote tripling”, which is where a person pledges to vote and to make sure three of their friends vote as well. When the election is right around the corner, the vote tripler will text, call, snapchat, or reach out to their friend in-person (safely, please!) to remind them to vote. To facilitate this, VPIRG is organizing hundreds of young Vote Safe Ambassadors across the state. These ambassadors will be the ones doing the vote tripling – voting themselves, and making sure their three friends vote as well. It’s a low level of commitment that anyone can get involved with, but when hundreds of young people are doing it, we can have an enormous impact on the election. Politicians listen to who elects them, so young people must vote to turn our political will into policy.
Let’s hold each other accountable this election – let’s change the story from “young people are apathetic non-voters” to “young people are the most important demographic for politicians to appeal to if they want to get elected”. Sign up to be a Vote Safe Ambassador and make this vision a reality.