Voting is a habit. Research shows that voting habits established soon after reaching eligibility persevere for decades.¹ Educating and mobilizing young people, therefore, is an effective strategy to establish lifelong voting. State Board of Elections data shows NC voters up to age 25 who voted in previous elections (2018 and 2019) had 92% turnout in 2020 — over 30 points higher than the overall state youth turnout of 60%.
You Can Vote (YCV) partners with school districts and high schools to educate, register and prepare students for their first vote. This year, we introduced a new experiential learning series, ACTIVATE, which is aimed at 11th and 12 grade students and integrates with curriculum. ACTIVATE classroom workshops teach students to seek out trusted information, make personal connections with curriculum, take informed civic action, and get pre-registered to vote.
We’re on college campuses across the state, working with North Carolina Campus Engagement to facilitate the NC Campus Challenge and providing leadership opportunities for students through our NC Civic Fellows Program. Right now we’re recruiting students for the Civic Fellows Program and rallying administration, faculty, students and organizations for the 2024 Campus Challenge.
We anticipate numerous changes to NC election laws in the coming year. And we must build the capacity to accurately register all eligible students and teach them how to vote in upcoming elections while adapting to rapidly changing rules.
Young people care and voter apathy is a myth!² Localized, hands-on education and support enables new voters to follow through on their intention to vote. In 2022, 65% of the voters YCV registered were under 25 years old. You can help us reach more young people by making a contribution at youcanvote.org/donate. And be on the lookout for YCV’s Campus Playbook and new resources as we line up for 2024.
Get involved: Come to a Volunteer Empowerment Training and join our team!
² Holbein & Hillygus. (2020). Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.