Giffords, NextGen America, and Everytown for Gun Safety Launch National Program to Register High School Students to Vote
Washington, DC — Giffords, NextGen America, and Everytown for Gun Safety today announced the launch of Our Lives, Our Vote, a nationwide drive to register young voters ahead of the 2018 midterm and bring attention to common-sense action on gun reform. The initiative will seek to get up to 50,000 Americans aged 18-19 registered for the midterm elections. The three organizations are committing an initial $1.5 million to the new initiative.
“America’s children took to the streets and led marches with a unified message that rang out across the country: we need a Congress that will protect us,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “The politicians who have pocketed millions from the NRA and done nothing to make our schools and communities safer will now be voted out. They will be voted out by the young Americans that are reminding our country to be better, to dream bigger. We are making sure that they have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the first time and truly make a difference.”
“This year, even amongst unspeakable tragedy, we’ve seen incredible leadership from young people demanding ‘enough is enough, this ends now,’” said NextGen America President Tom Steyer. “All across this country, young people are using their voices to call for change and demand political courage from their representatives, and we are proud to encourage those efforts. The politicians who continue to drag their feet on laws to protect Americans in order to appease the gun lobby have a simple choice: listen to the voices of our nation’s youth, or find a new job.”
“America’s next generation is mobilizing behind a simple but revolutionary demand: Protect us,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “With the midterm elections less than seven months away, candidates have a choice to make on gun safety: lead, follow, or get your resumes ready.”
The program will invest in 10 key states where NRA-aligned candidates are on the ballot. The states where Our Lives, Our Vote will be active are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Our Lives, Our Vote will use a mix of cutting-edge voter registration tactics including:
- Mailing voter registration forms to newly eligible voters immediately after their 18th birthday.
- Targeting young people with online voter registration ads online.
- Supporting grassroots organizations who are registering young voters face-to-face in their own communities.
- In states where it is legal, Our Lives, Our Vote will also pre-register 16-and-17 year olds to vote, especially focusing on 17-year-olds who will be eligible to vote in the 2018 midterms.
Increased registration and turnout of young people in the midterm elections could have catastrophic results for NRA-aligned candidates. As the Brookings Institution noted last week: “If young people can double their 2014 national turnout in 2018 up to 34 percent, as happened in Virginia, that would provide an additional four million voters nationally.”
The number of eligible young people registering to vote is already on the rise. Yesterday, a new national poll came out on Americans aged 18-29-year-olds by Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) that found an increase in the number who say they will be “definitely be voting” in the upcoming midterms. Thirty seven percent of Americans under 30 indicate that they will “definitely be voting” compared to 23 percent in 2014. In the two weeks alone following the Parkland shooting, voter registration in Broward County, Florida among 18-25 year olds rose dramatically by 61 percent compared to the previous two weeks.