For Immediate Release
[Amherst, MA] According to preliminary results provided by local elections officials, several University of Massachusetts Amherst campus precincts showed significant increases in turnout over the previous national election. Precinct 3, for instance showed a 29 percent increase, Precinct 4 showed a 21 percent increase and Precinct 5 showed a 27 percent increase over 2008.
“Despite the dire predictions of low youth turnout today, young people once again showed that when voter mobilization efforts pay attention to them, they show up on Election Day,” said Shawna Upton, MASSPIRG New Voters Project Campaign Coordinator and Freshman at the UMass Amherst.
Upton and a team of dozens of student leaders of MASSPIRG’s New Voters Project worked in partnership with the UMass Votes Coalition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to run an intensive voter mobilization drive on campus over the past several weeks.
Using scientifically-proven voter outreach and mobilization techniques such as peer-to-peer phonebanks and canvasses, text message outreach and classroom announcements, the campaign made 11,900 vote reminders in the days leading up to the election. They also helped to register 2,500 young voters through a combination through an online-voting software application and pavement-pounding with registration forms attached to clipboards.
Creative events such as asking students to pledge to vote by wearing themed masks to represent the issues students would be voting for closer to election day and organizing a “Umass Style” flash mob to the wildly popular Youtube hit Gangnam Style. UMass Votes helped build a buzz on campus and reach thousands more potential voters.
“The best people to urge a young person to the poll is another young person,’ said Shawna Upton ‘Our campaign shows definitively that if you pay attention to young voters, they will pay attention to you.’