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There's a lot going on in the world. But state and local elections have consequences, and that's not lost on young Americans who voted today in key races.
As results from today’s elections in key 🔑 states trickle in, we’ll get a preview into how Americans are feeling less than one year out from the 2024 election. In Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, and more, young organizers have worked for weeks to turn out their peers. Here’s a look at some of their efforts.
In Virginia, where all 140 general assembly seats are up for grabs, organizers have been making calls, sending texts, and knocking on dorm room doors to turn out young people.
Voters of Tomorrow, along with Grassroots Democrats HQ and Blue Future, made over 370,000 calls and door knocks to Gen Z voters there. Youth activists like David Hogg were on the ground in Virginia Tuesday (and in the lead up to Election Day) and youth vote organizations NextGen America and Planned Parenthood Generation Action spread awareness about the importance of the elections on campuses in the Commonwealth.
Eve Levenson, youth director for the Democratic National Committee, posted a video on X from just off of William and Mary’s campus today, where the line of voters wrapped out the door the building.
“Most important thing about the line: it’s all young people who are registering to vote today — this doesn’t even include the line of students who were pre-registered!,” Levenson said in the post.
Virginia enacted same-day voter registration last year, making that possible.
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Ohioans are voting on Issue 1, which would constitutionally protect abortion in the Buckeye State. The ballot measure comes after an August special election during which Ohio Republicans tried to raise the threshold for required to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60% of the vote. That initiative failed.
“Issue 1 is something students are really really really passionate about,” said Darlene Moorman, a 22-year-old digital organizer with the Ohio Students Association, which has chapters on 12 campuses across Ohio, in cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, and Columbus. In recent months, Moorman’s asked students why they’re eager to vote. “The most popular thing has been talking about Issue 1. People don’t necessarily have to have very specific experiences, but they acknowledge the issue of bodily autonomy, reproductive freedoms,” she told The Up and Up.
A graduate of Cleveland State, Moorman spent Tuesday morning on campus at her alma-matter vote tripling. “We had students go out and find people and ask them to remind three or more of their friends and family to vote,” she said, while en route to her next stop at Case Western University.
Ahead of Election Day, OSA and Ohio Student Activist Alliance held a vote early day of action to fire up young voters. Across Ohio from August through Election Day, Moorman said, OSA had recorded:
11,062 voter registrations
Over 100,000 doors knocked
Tens of thousands of voter guides distributed
Voters in Pennsylvania are looking to fill the state’s open Supreme Court seat, which was left vacant after former Chief Justice Max Baer passed away last year. Today, Pennsylvanians are weighing whether Democrat Daniel McCaffery or Republican Carolyn Carluccio should replace him.
"We had consistent fun and varying ways that we engaged with students. We helped students register to vote, and once the deadline was passed, we created plans or vote. This means we helped people find their polling place, learn what times they could vote, and helped ensure they would make it to the polls and exercise their rights. We also emphasized the importance of the judicial races and the rights that are on the line, so students knew exactly what was at stake,” said Olivia Pinocci-Wrightsman, an sophomore organizer with Pitt Votes at the University of Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, for its part, according to NextGen America’s Kristi Johnson, the youth voter engagement organization contacted over 408,000 young eligible voters in Pennsylvania through texts, calls, and events.
The Taylor Swift effect
Taylor Swift is back at it again with an Instagram post encouraging civic engagement. “Voters gonna vote! It’s Election Day! If you are registered to vote in Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas or Virginia, it’s time to use your voice. Find out what’s on your ballot before you arrive to the polls by visiting Vote.org,” Swift, who now has 275 million followers on Instagram, posted Tuesday.
In honor of National Voter Registration Day this September, Swift encouraged her then 272 million followers to register to vote using Vote.org, resulting in more than 35,000 voter registrations on the website.
Eyes on her potential electoral impact ahead of 2024 👀