As we head into 2022, I think it is essential that we remember that those who are not eligible to vote still make a huge difference in voter turnouts, especially in Georgia. The voter efforts today could not be done without teens. According to CIRCLE, 55% of 18 and 19 year olds who were registered to vote, turned up in the Presidential 2020 election. It was one of the highest rates in history for youth; however, there is still much room for improved voter turnout amongst youth. It is our responsibility to stay politically and civically involved in our communities and local governments for the greater good of our future. That said, here are five ways that you can get more involved in your community through political and civic engagement.
Register to vote
Registering to vote is by far one of the most crucial things in our democracy. As someone who held a voter registration drive virtually, I noticed the lack of civic participation in our youth. Here in Georgia, you must be 17 ½ years old to register to vote but some states allow for pre registration at the age of 16 such as California and New York. If you do not meet the requirements of your state, you can still pledge to register. Pledging to register ensures that you are reminded to register when you are of age.
Participate in local elections
Most people who turn out for the presidential election are quick to forget about voting in midterm, local and even runoff elections. What they do not notice is that by missing out on the so called “smaller” elections, they are further away from flipping the seat or senate in some cases. According to a study conducted by FairVote, there was a 66.7% turnout rate in the 2016 presidential election but only a 50% turnout rate in the following midterm elections in 2018. You can visit this website to find the upcoming elections in your area!
Join a political or civic club at your school
One super easy way to get involved within your community is joining a club. This can range from a High School Democrats club or National Teenage Republicans, to a civic engagement club or anything relating to a certain social issue of injustice you may be passionate about. Doing this offers outlets into the real world and can help you connect with other passionate and expressive peers. If there isn’t a club at your school, feel free to start one!
Phone bank for a candidate you support
Phone banking is a political campaign method for gathering voter information and encouraging people to vote. It is super easy and fun; in addition, it can be done virtually. Mobilize is an awesome website to find opportunities across Georgia and other states to partake in phone banking, canvassing or other political related opportunities. Signing up is super easy and a great way to encourage voter turnout.
Contact your representatives
If there is a specific issue you are particularly passionate about and does not receive much attention from the media, contact your local representatives. You typically can call or email them but it differs from community to community. When talking to them, you can advocate for any certain issue you tend to be passionate about or a certain bill you want them to vote for, promote or sponsor. More importantly, calling your government officials lets you feel like you are taking action and making change. Find you local representatives here. You can learn more about how to contact them here.