Voterise; You Need it

Maya Levine

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“Empowering young people to stay woke”- Sarah Scott

 

Take a trip back to the seventies. Women had the right to vote, disco was popular, everyone was wearing bell bottom jeans and the infamous Scooby Doo gang was created. Now, visit Utah in the seventies. What did it look like? Extensive lines were growing longer by the minute as crowds of young people waited their turn to vote for the next President of the United States.

 

Fast forward to the 2016 Presidential Election in Utah. What did it look like? Kevin Bone memes, famous artists finally taking a political stand, and many, many tweets. There were rallies and marches and protests and… minimal lines at the polling stations; there were only a few millennials in sight. Those who did decide to show up took tight short breathes. You couldn’t escape the awkward tension. “Civics engagement in the state of Utah in the 70’s had some of the top voter turnout amongst young people in the nation” Sarah Scott, digital director of Voterise described. Now, “One of the most disengaged generations of young people is in the state of utah.”

 

Think back on your day. You wake up early and head to school. You go out to eat lunch with your friends and suffer through a math test afterwards. When that final bell rings, you find your way to sports practice. Then, twenty four hours later, the alarm blaring, you get ready to repeat it all over again. You’re coasting through your day unaware and uninterested about the United States’ political agenda, because how could it affect you? Somewhere else, though, politicians are meeting to discuss the option of raising the voting age back to 21. You’re under twenty one. This affects you the most. “The Election Commission headed by Vice President Pence and the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach [discussed] raising the voting age back to 21” Elsa, one of the founders of Voterise disclosed. This is largely because of the fact that millennials have the lowest voting turnout among every age group eligible to vote.

 

Voterise, a nonprofit organization, has worked tirelessly the past year and continues to work day in and day out registering 18 to 29 year olds and minority groups to vote. They are hoping their work will help stop voter suppression and increase the voting turnout in the state of Utah, whether it be for local elections or the next Presidential Election in 2020.

 

The board and staff are likely to be found at any fun local events registering people through their company. A few weeks ago they walked through the University of Utah Tailgate, registered people at Park City Library, made an appearance at the Utah Pow Wow, and on October 18th gave an all school assembly to Park City High School where students could text in VOTERISE to 788-683 to pre-register or register to vote.

 

On the sidelines Voterise is hoping to alter the civics curriculum. “(S)earch what are politics, what are local elections, the basics of basics and you will barely find any information that’s not straight from a textbook and confusing”, Ms. Scott argued. She described that a part of this project will be to make political information more easily accessible and understandable online which would allow for more people to become educated.

 

The staff on Voterise believes that voting is more than placing a piece of paper in a ballot box. It’s a new voice in America’s democracy, and the more voices the better. When everyone comes together, regardless of beliefs, our quiet voices will turn into a strong roar.