by Sasha Shyduroff, Organizing Manager, Sierra Student Coalition
On my 18th birthday almost ten years ago my dad took me to our local town hall and I registered to vote. Growing up in a small town in Maine there was a big focus on community and my parents encouraged us to be involved. A few short weeks after my birthday, I voted for the first time in our local election. The following year, I voted in my first Presidential election, and I’ve been voting in major elections ever since.
In 2008, I graduated from college and knew I needed to help young people vote in the election. I landed an organizing job with Sierra Student Coalition working on the Power Vote Campaign in Athens, Ohio. It was there that I truly realized the importance of the youth vote and the power of our generation.
Sept. 25th, marks the first ever National Voter Registration Day!
Our generation, the Millennials aged 18-29, make up over 20% of the eligible voter population. In just a few short years we’ll make up a full third! That is a huge amount of power our generation has to highlight issues we care about. In 2008, youth voter turnout was 51%- one of the highest ever recorded. Despite these amazing facts, young people are also one of the most disenfranchised voting blocs; We tend to move around a lot, our registrations aren’t always up to date, college campuses are sometimes sliced and diced into awkward districts, students don’t always have access to transportation to get them to the polls… the list is pretty extensive. All of these things become barriers for young people to exercise their rights (and there are even those who want to make it even harder for young people to vote, just look at new voter ID laws).
That is why registering to vote is so crucial in this election. Not only is it required to vote on Election Day, it also tells the world that our generation and our opinions matter. If you don’t vote, your elected officials don’t listen to you. That is why we need to make sure our peers are registered to vote and turn out on Election Day on November 6th.
So I ask you to join me, today, Tuesday, Sept 25th, for National Voter Registration Day, and REGISTER TO VOTE!
Photo Above: Kirin, Emily and Sasha at the White House post-election in 2008.
Cross-posted from the Sierra Student Coalition