For Immediate Release: Friday, Oct. 30, 2020
For More Information:
Maddie Moore, WashPIRG Students Chapter Chair, University of Washington, 253-310-7712, [email protected]
Manny Rin, Student PIRGs New Voters Project Director, 925-234-1457, [email protected]
Josh Chetwynd, Communications Manager, 303-573-5558, [email protected]
Washington— WashPIRG’s New Voters Project, one of the country’s oldest student-led youth voter mobilization groups, will organize a final push to help young voters cast their ballot before Election Day. Volunteers from campuses across the state will participate in virtual phone-a-thon events to call their peers and classmates to make sure they have a plan to vote this election. The massive virtual grassroots effort to register and mobilize students on college campuses this semester will culminate in this final surge.
This week’s phone-a-thon events, which are being organized by WashPIRG in coordination with New Voters Project student groups in 16 other states, will feature hundreds of volunteers, dressed up in the most festive Halloween costumes and Zoom backgrounds, helping new voters make a plan to vote and navigate any challenges they may encounter when voting for the first time.
Media interested in observing any of these efforts either locally or nationwide can RSVP here for the video link. In addition, student organizers will be available for interviews.
“We’re the largest and most diverse group of potential voters, so we can make a big impact if we vote, “ said Maddie Moore, Chair of WashPIRG at the University of Washington. “That’s why I’m spending my weekend calling my peers to help them make a plan to turn in their ballot by Election Day.”
Despite challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, student interns and volunteers from college campuses in Washington worked to turn out the youth vote this semester. Activities have shifted from clipboards to Google docs; and from holding signs at in-person rallies to speaking in front of virtual backgrounds on Zoom calls.
“At the University of Washington, WashPIRG the Huskies Vote Coalition, a which group of student organizations, staff, and faculty, educated students on how to register and vote through social media and campus emails,” continued Moore. “We also helped students register during remote learning classes and organized events including debate-watching Zoom parties”.
While on campus efforts looked different, the importance of peer-to-peer work remained impactful. For example, last week, during Vote Early Day, WashPIRG helped 850 students make personal vote plans and encouraged them to vote early.
“In the next 4 days, young people have the opportunity to make our voices heard in our democracy, but only if we vote,” said Nick Schmitt, Senior at the Evergreen State College. “It is fulfilling to know that someone will vote because of the plan I helped them make.”
Recent data shows that in a number of states early voting rates exceed rates at the same point in 2016. While many factors contribute to this drastic increase in youth voting, the organizing work of student organizers, faculty, and campus organizations should not be overlooked.
“Nationally, I am encouraged to see so many young people voting early and the work WashPIRG student leaders and our partners in Washington contributed to that effort.” said Manny Rin, New Voters Project Director, “After the election the work continues to make sure the youth voice is heard. Our student leaders will continue working with their campuses to ensure voting is a part of the fabric of their institutions and not just an effort every 4 years”