For Immediate Release Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Contact: Rachele Huennekens, (703) 470-2454
ReEnergize the Vote, Sierra Student Coalition Increase NV, PA, OR, CO, TX Youth Voter Turnout
Intensive youth civic engagement program registered,
mobilized 28,000 young voters on 25 college campuses
On Wednesday, November 3, ReEnergize the Vote, a nonpartisan campaign of the Sierra Club’s college student organizing arm, the Sierra Student Coalition, hailed its successful effort to empower tens of thousands of young voters to make their voices to heard in the 2010 midterm elections. Through months of intensive organizing effort on more than 25 college campuses in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas, ReEnergize the Vote helped mobilize the 20 percent of eligible voters aged 18-29 who voted this year, according to exit poll data complied by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).
"Young voters make a difference," said Yila Ataman, ReEnergize the Vote volunteer at the University of Portland, in Oregon. "With these elections, we demonstrated that young people are committed to changing America for the better."
Since September, ReEnergize the Vote mobilized thousands of young voters to take action on the issues that matter to them. ReEnergize the Vote’s efforts in 2010 included:
- Registering more than 28,000 young people who either voted for the first time in 2008, or in 2010;
- Collecting nearly 27,000 Pledges to Vote;
- Dedicating more than 3,050 hours of volunteer time;
- Making more than 83,000 “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) contacts, through phone calls, door-to-door canvasses, presentations in college classes, visibility events, and other organizing tactics;
- Sending more than 6,200 voting reminder text messages and more than 90,000 voting reminder emails.
"Students on our campus were really fired up," said Kristin Green, ReEnergize the Vote volunteer at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "It was the first time I’ve seen so many different people in different classes standing up and making announcements about voting. It was awesome."
Working together with other national young voter mobilization campaigns such as Vote Again 2010, the Bus Project, Rock the Vote, New Era Colorado, Oregon Students Association and dozens of other groups, ReEnergize the Vote helped the 'Millennial Generation' of young Americans continue to progress as a powerful voting bloc. While involvement of young people in these 2010 midterm elections can’t be compared to the record turnout of 22 million young voters in the 2008 presidential elections and the 26 percent of young voters who voted in the 2006 midterm elections, the success of ReEnergize the Vote proves that concerted efforts can help empower young people to participate in our democracy.
"Every day for three months, we talked to college students across the political spectrum who were concerned about issues like America’s energy policies and access to quality, affordable education," said Miller Nuttle, ReEnergize the Vote organizer at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "While some young people felt frustrated with slow pace of change on these issues, I think ReEnergize the Vote succeeded in showing them that voting is the first step to changing things in this country."
In crucial states, ReEnergize the Vote’s impact on the youth vote was significant:
- In Pennsylvania, ReEnergize the Vote registered more than 6,400 young voters, collected more than 8,500 Pledges to Vote, and made 19,500 GOTV contacts;
- In Nevada, ReEnergize the Vote registered more than 4,600 young voters, collected more than 6,100 Pledges to Vote, and made 11,700 GOTV contacts;
- In Texas, ReEnergize the Vote registered more than 9,000 young voters, collected more than 6,200 Pledges to Vote, and made 17,600 GOTV contacts;
- In Colorado, ReEnergize the Vote, in coalition with New Era Colorado and Rock the Vote, registered more than 10,000 young voters, collected more than 6,000 Pledges to Vote, and made 20,000 GOTV contacts;
- In Oregon on three campuses, ReEnergize the Vote in coalition with the Oregon Students Association (OSA) registered more than 4,000 young voters and made more than 7,300 GOTV contacts
ReEnergize the Vote’s organizing model was based on making multiple personal contacts with inexperienced, hard-to-reach young voters, and meeting young people in their everyday communities: on college campuses, in urban neighborhoods, online.
In the first phase of its campaign, ReEnergize the Vote registered more than 28,000 young people to vote. In the second phase of the campaign, ReEnergize the Vote educated young people about state in-person early voting options and encouraged them to take advantage of this option to participate in these crucial elections. In the final phase of the campaign, ReEnergize the Vote educated young voters about Election Day procedures, polling locations, and the importance of voting through creative organizing tactics such as visibility events, 'dorm storm' and 'Halloween Trick or Vote' canvasses and phone banks. ReEnergize the Vote also utilized cutting-edge technology to engage young people, including customized text messages, social media and online tools.
Jean-Paul Torres, a student at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, was an example of success of ReEnergize the Vote’s intensive organizing approach. ReEnergize the Vote campus organizers registered and pledged Jean-Paul to vote in September. Several weeks later, ReEnergize the Vote called him to remind him about Nevada’s early voting option. As a full-time civil engineering student with a full-time job, Jean-Paul would not have been able to vote on Election Day, and thanks to ReEnergize the Vote’s phone call, was able to take advantage of the early voting period at the last minute. Jean-Paul later volunteered to make GOTV phone calls to other Reno college students.
Many of ReEnergize the Vote’s activities relied on young people who volunteered their time to spread the word about voting to their peers. For example, University of Pittsburgh freshman Anna Mullin was very excited to vote for the first time, and dedicated herself to sharing her passion with others. For months, Anna led ReEnergize the Vote tabling activities, recruited and trained other volunteers, coordinated phone banks, and organized campus events. Similarly, Malorie Morrill a political science student at University of Nevada, at Reno, volunteered for ReEnergize the Vote up to 40 hour per week, without receiving any class credit. Kristin Green, a senior at University of Colorado at Boulder, got involved with ReEnergize the Vote and partner organization New Era Colorado online, researching and blogging about ReEnergize the Vote and the importance of voting. Calvin Green, a University of Houston student government leader, volunteered at several voter registration events, helped organize voter registration and early vote rallies, and collected Pledges to Vote from his peers. Calvin was motivated to volunteer with ReEnergize the Vote by his desire to invest himself in his community and "do something bigger than just my major."
Also in Houston, Texas Jyliese Smith and Simone Rayford, students at historically black college (HBCU) Texas Southern University, partnered ReEnergize the Vote with TSU’s NAACP student organization, and led three tabling events and two 'dorm storm' canvasses in two weeks.
"There was so much at stake for my generation in these elections," said Simone Rayford. "I volunteered with ReEnergize the Vote to make sure that young people’s votes were counted and our voices were heard."
In the coming months, the Sierra Student Coalition will continue to invest in young people and make them a part of a thriving American democracy. The Sierra Student Coalition will be training hundreds of young people in grassroots organizing on campuses and communities across the country, preparing the Millennial generation to be the next leaders of our country.
For more information about ReEnergize the Vote, please visit http://www.reenergizethevote.org
For more information about the Sierra Student Coalition, please visit http://ssc.sierraclub.org