The 2019 Get Out the Vote campaign has started. In 2018 the campaign, that has been set up to encourage younger people to register to vote, added 118,000 young people to the register in time for the 2018 midterms.
This year it is set to pull more young voters into the democratic process for the forthcoming elections in 2019 and the Presidential Election in 2020.
DoSomething.org has benefited from a $500,000 grant donated by Craig Newmark Philanthropies which is headed up by Mr Newmark, the founder of Craig’s List. This funding will likely be used to target previously underrepresented voters including people of color.
The long term aim is to encourage young people to take a lifetime interest and fully participate in the democratic life of their country which is essential if the US is to hear the voice of all its citizens including those who are the most marginalized.
This is a subject that Craig Newmark feels strongly about. Looking at some of the ways that people are excluded from the opportunity to vote, he hopes the funds will help some of the young voters to overcome barriers that prevent them from exercising their franchise.
Things like gerrymandering, ID regulations, purging, and other tactics can often remove peoples' ability to register and cast a vote.
Newmark believes that DoSomething.org's Get Out the Vote is a much-needed initiative and that more work is needed at a grassroots level to make the election system much more inclusive and open to all Americans.
For DoSomething.org, a spokesperson announced that in 2019 the campaign will be looking to educate voters using offline and online channels. There is likely to be a great deal of input from social influencers, alongside voter registration drives, reminders delivered via SMS, and voting plans.
The offline activities will include community organizing to encourage all young adults to register to vote.
A key part of the strategy is the organization of another National Absentee Ballot Day on 8th October. This will target the five states with elections planned: Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Kentucky, with students from each state, encouraged to submit an absentee ballot.
Last year the campaign helped to bring about a record voter turnout in the midterms (42%). The only year where a higher turnout was recorded was 1914 when 50.4% of voters came out. However, it is worth noting that in 1914 women did not have the vote (US Elections Project).
The $500,000 grant from Newmark means that DoSomething.org can aim to break more records in 2020 when US citizens have another presidential election. Newark sees the vote as an essential civic duty that enables Americans to protect their democracy.
He encourages everyone to get out to vote and passionately supports the aims of DoSomething.org's Get Out the Vote initiative. In particular, its role in targeting young people and empowering them to elect their officials and hold them accountable.