As 2017 came to an end, I began pondering all of the empty promises I’ve made to myself over the years - calling them New Years Resolutions, when they were really just attempts to suppress myself. (Let’s be honest - I don’t want to start exercising or go on a diet.) I began exploring alternative ideas; not just promises to make to myself, but ways to really make a difference. What I’ve decided to do this year is start a #ResistanceResolution, a joint effort between myself and a small community of dedicated activists to raise voter awareness across the country. Using Twitter as our main platform, we’re encouraging citizens to make a pledge to get registered and vote.
Instead of making unattainable or unrealistic goals this year, let us all resolve to make concrete changes among the electorate by focusing on voter education and turnout. The #ResistanceResolution became the Voter Awareness Project, focused on three key initiatives:
Get out the vote efforts
By focusing our work on these three goals, we believe we can make a real difference in key elections across the country. In 2016, we saw a surge in voter registration, but not actual votes; roughly 60% of eligible voters participated in the Presidential election, low turnout for a major democracy. 2018 will be the first year that Americans born in this century can vote. In light of these numbers, it’s crucial to educate potential voters and encourage them to take part in their constitutional right by getting registered and committing to vote.
Our group’s main priority when educating voters is centered around voting rights. Because voter suppression and intimidation can keep people from going to the polls, education about voting rights is key to increasing turnout. Another cause of low turnout is a lack of faith in the electoral process, which we can correct not just through education, but by working to enact anti-gerrymandering and anti-voter suppression legislation.
Voter registration can be done anywhere by anyone. We've brainstormed a few ideas that could make our voter registration effort not only successful but fun. Community block parties and pot lucks allow you to connect directly with potential voters in your neighborhood. Other methods include setting up a voter registration booth outside community centers, grocery stores and banks as well as community colleges, which are often ignored in voter registration drives.
Our third priority with the Voter Awareness Project is to encourage people to go vote - in local, state, and national elections. Change starts in the community, so taking part in county- and city-level elections is key to having a representative government. By participating in get out the vote efforts, our group can amplify upcoming elections for key candidates at multiple levels of government.
To get involved with the Voter Awareness Project, reach out to Kellie on Twitter @KellieResists.
Follow Kellie on Twitter @KellieResists