The Last Push

Blog Post

It’s Election Week! The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is using the last two days to keep up the unprecedented momentum we’re seeing in youth turnout, with more than 4,500 hours of calling and texting scheduled from our student-led team around the country. I’m back to share an update on our work and an invite to join online Get out the Vote events we’re hosting this week.

Our teams from North Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland got together to make some calls to voters!

2020 is breaking youth vote records 

All across the country, young voters are showing up big for early voting, turning out three times more voters this year than at the same point in 2016. In eight states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Minnesota), young people “have already cast more votes than the margin of victory in that state’s 2016 presidential election.” (CIRCLE 10/30/20)

The same analysis by CIRCLE found that in 2016 half of young voters turned in their ballots or cast their early votes in the last six days before the election. This means that there are still plenty of young people who still need to cast their ballot.

One-on-one outreach

Our goal is to make sure that youth voter turnout continues to smash records. We’re focusing our efforts on helping young people make plans to vote through one-on-one conversations, driven by our team of more than 2,000 student interns and 3,000 Vote Captains. Over the last seven days, this team:

  • Called more than 88,000 young people across the country to tell them about their voting options, nearly doubling our GOTV calls to 163,000 over the course of the fall
  • Had more than 33,000 peer-to-peer conversations helping young voters navigate their local election laws and make specific plans to turn in their mail-in ballots or vote safely in person
  • Reached nearly 10,000 students in virtual class announcements
  • Partnered with local organizations such as the Michigan NAACP, University of Michigan’s Turn Up Turnout and the Ginsberg Center, University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center, the Big 10 Voting Challenge, University of Central Florida Greeks Vote, the CA Campus Bowl, and more to spread the word about voting

Voting during COVID-19

An election in the middle of a pandemic has created an extra layer of difficulty for students. As cases of COVID-19 continue to trend upward across the country, we’ve had conversations with dozens of young people who tested positive for COVID-19 and could no longer vote early because they were quarantining. We were able to tell all of these students about their emergency absentee balloting options in their states.

We’re working with quarantine student housing units on campuses across the country to make sure students who are quarantining can still make their voices heard. In addition to all of these conversations, we’ve connected hundreds of students to 866-OUR-VOTE (a hotline run by the Election Protection coalition) and 888-VE-Y-VOTA (a bilingual hotline run by the NALEO Education Fund) to help them with election protection issues.

About The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project
PIRG New Voters Project, Inc. is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 4945(f) status. We work on 100 campuses across the country to activate the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, so we work to make sure every student has the opportunity to have their voice heard in our elections by building a culture of civic engagement on college campuses. We engage students, faculty, and administrators to build lasting systems of voter engagement for the long term.

Since 1984, our field based, non-partisan effort helped to register over 2 million young people and make over 3 million Get out the Vote contacts reminding young people where, when, and how to vote. We have tested new field models to ensure we are running the most effective civic engagement program possible. One study of our program showed that 76.3 percent of the voters we helped to register turned out to the polls, among the highest rates of all non-partisan voter registration efforts. 68.8 percent of voters we helped to register were brand-new registrants, making the project one of the most effective ways to bring new voters into the electoral process.
About The Student PIRGs
Students have the right and the responsibility to shape the future we will inherit. Our program spans over 100 campuses in 22 states of which 35 campuses have self-funding programs, that provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For almost 50 years we’ve helped our campus communities get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change. Every year, over 4,000 students gain hands-on experience in organizing and activism by volunteering with us to generate 150,000 grassroots actions.