For Immediate Release
Raleigh, NC – With voter registration deadlines passed, today students across the state kicked off early voting with events to mobilize young voters to the polls before Election Day.
“There’s a lot of talk about young people being less motivated to vote in this year’s election, but we know that reaching out to young people where they are can boost youth turnout,” stated Renford Lynch, Campaign Coordinator for NCPIRG’s non-partisan New Voters Project and sophomore statistics major at North Carolina State University.
To build buzz on campus around early voting, NCPIRG hosted hipster-themed “I Voted Before It Was Cool” events at NC State University, Appalachian State, and NC Central University today when polls opened. Students who voted early could take a picture wearing paper mustaches that said “I Voted” which became part of a photo collage to show how voting can be “hip and cool.”
In a push to harness mobile technology, NCPIRG asked students to become ‘text out the vote’ captains and send on-the-spot messages urging their friends to vote. At today’s events alone, student volunteers generated over 3,400 text messages to their fellow students to remind them to vote.
In the next three weeks, students will continue to use tactics like text messaging to urge thousands of young voters to the polls. In classrooms, NCPIRG will ask students to put down their pens, pick up their cell phones and text everyone in their phone book a ‘Make Sure to Vote’ reminder. Research published in 2007 by researchers at NCPIRG’s New Voters Project, Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame found that text message reminders can increase turnout among young voters by four percentage points.
Student leaders will also storm dorms, organize canvasses of student neighborhoods and group phonebanks to contact as many students as possible in the days leading up to the election to remind them to cast a ballot.
“With just 21 days to go,” said Lynch, “we’ve got a shrinking window to make sure that the voices of students at NC State are heard on Election Day.”