“We had all these students willing to connect virtually, and being able to organize in this time was great,” Kaufman said. “Unfortunately, it’s a little harder to create relationships with all of our volunteers, but we have Zooms every other week and then we have our big volunteer calls about once a month so that’s where we’re able to connect with our volunteers.”
Solum first got involved with MyVote after seeing a few of her fellow students post about it on social media. She said after signing up, she was quickly connected with the leadership team.
“For the first four or five months, I was doing candidate research, which meant every two weeks or so, I was sent a list of 20 or 25 political candidates all the way from local board of elections to state senators, state house of representatives,” Solum said.
She said MyVote has covered the policies of all candidates from North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Many student volunteers are not of age to vote.
Elizabeth de Figueiredo, the North Carolina state lead for MyVote, is 17 years old and spends hours promoting voting and voter education.
“Not being able to vote made me want to do more and find a way to participate because I couldn't vote,” de Figueiredo said. “I saw that in a lot of our volunteers.”
She said it’s more than just getting people who can’t vote yet excited about voting. It’s about the learning process that comes with researching candidates and policies so young people can learn about the importance of local and state elections — not just the presidential election.
“I think it’s really cool to see people who aren’t even old enough to care about if other people voted,” Kaufman said. “I think it makes our volunteers stronger; since they can’t vote, they see it as such a value that they can’t wait for.”
Solum said many MyVote volunteers worked at local polling sites, encouraging research on the candidates prior to voting.
“The most impactful thing was seeing how our work was impacting people, when we actually got to go out and go to the polls and to see them use MyVote and see them interested in the candidates they were voting for and learning new things about them that they didn't know before they even were going to vote,” de Figueiredo said.
Although the 2020 election season is technically over, this doesn't mean MyVote is finished. Kaufman said she hopes to expand MyVote to include more college students from state universities and historically Black colleges and universities to cultivate a diverse organization that reaches and educates more people.
“If we don’t have people voting and we don’t have people knowing who they’re going to vote for, our democracy could collapse,” Kaufman said.
Those interesting in volunteering can sign up here.
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