Your vote is your power.
We know that the best way to get someone to try something new is to hear it from trusted messengers like friends and family. This is especially true when serious, passionate arguments are used. Well, I hope you’re ready to spread the word about voting because our democracy needs you now more than ever before.
Voting rights are under attack across this country. Black and brown people, indigenous communities, and students have been under attack by voter suppression efforts meant to minimize their political participation and power. We saw this play out last election cycle at the University of Illinois when students experienced incredibly long lines because of the failure to have a proper number of polling places on campus. Champaign County elected a new County Clerk as a result and now voting rights are being protected at the local level. Turns out, voting rights are popular! Go after them and there will be consequences.
We will continue to fight for candidates that support making it easier, not harder to vote. The Democratic party will continue their work in the courtroom to ensure voter protection for all. You can support voting rights efforts across the country here: https://www.democracydocket.
There are encouraging signs about voter turnout this year. We have seen a massive influx of vote by mail requests in Illinois, and long, long lines at early vote locations in other states. We’re just two days away from the start of Early Voting in Illinois, and we encourage you to flex your democracy muscles by voting. We also know that despite the cynicism, misinformation, and suppression tactics, millennial voting nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018. “Among 18- to 29-year-olds, voter turnout went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group.”
Young people are moved by issues that impact them such as climate change, the cost of education, gun violence, and the future of our economy. Yet, young voters don’t just care about a cleaner climate. They care about healthcare cost and access, criminal justice reform, and a wide array of issues.
Young people have driven every major movement over the last century, and now they do it faster than before. Technology allows folks to mobilize, organize, and decentralize movements to empower those who may have been left out of political conversations by the so-called mainstream.
This means young people are changing the makeup of political parties, civic and political organizations, and are deciding to run for office themselves. Organizations like Run For Something and Arena have played a large role in this trend, but organizations right here in Illinois are working as we speak to do the same. Groups like the High School Democrats, College Democrats, and Young Democrats have collaborated on a worthy goal of registering 10,000 new voters through their initiative YVOTEIL, and they are holding training and events to engage new voters and organizers alike to get involved to help take back our democracy.
So, to honor National Voter Registration Day, we ask that you find at least 3 friends or family members who you may not think of as super political. Tell them why you’re voting, what motivates you, and why you think it’s important they consider doing so too. Let them know that Illinois is a same day registration state, and that it really only takes a few minutes to change the face of democracy by getting registered and making a plan to vote. Let them know that this really matters.
You can tell them to start their registration process here: https://www.yvoteil.com/
Thank them and thank yourself for making our democracy a little more whole — we all know we could use that in this moment.
Let’s get to work!