CREATE Council at National Voter Registration Day
Check out this great blog by CREATE Council Member Emma Griffin-Derr about youth getting out the vote this election season!
On National Voter Registration Day (September 23rd), thousands of volunteers across the country gathered in areas such as the mall, school campuses, bus stops, and concert venues to register voters in time for the upcoming state elections. Among these volunteers was Katie Raitz; a friendly and knowledgeable representative of Colorado Youth Matter’s CREATE Council. Katie greeted students on Colorado University’s busy campus and talked to them about the importance of voting.
“It’s essential that millennials vote because laws are being made as we speak, and it’s so important to take part in making them. I do voter outreach because it’s a statistic that the younger you start voting, the more likely you are to be a lifelong voter. I love doing it on my college campus because it’s such an abundant community of young people with compelling voices that need to be heard.”
Katie sympathizes with the apathy that many millennials feel around voting, but firmly asserts that it’s a crucial way to assert one’s voice in their world and their lives. “It’s easy to feel marginalized. I know I’ve felt discouraged after seeing politicians who don’t fulfill their promises or feeling like the candidates don’t represent my views. But my favorite part about registering people is helping someone feel like an active member of society and that they really have a voice; it shows significant validation to say ‘it’s so great that you are choosing to vote!’. It’s so meaningful to realize the power that we as millennials and people really do have.”
Katie also spends time to table and do a phone bank for No on 67, the personhood amendment that would take away women’s right to abortion under all circumstances, and is coming up in the Colorado November elections. In terms of piquing interest in voting, Katie says, the amendment is a great conversation starter on why it might be pragmatic for someone to vote. “As something that is going to change Colorado laws and the state constitution, it’s a real-time example of the importance of casting a vote for what you believe in.”
Katie was happy to volunteer for the movement to get people, particularly millennials, to learn the importance of their own voice. “A very powerful moment I experienced when doing National Voter Registration Day was talking to a man who said he couldn’t register because he had been convicted of a felony. I told him that since he was no longer on parole he could, indeed, vote in Colorado! It was so exciting to be able to tell him he had this right and see his excitement for having this ability.”
Katie and the rest of the members of the CREATE Council are excited to inspire youth to take action in the outcome of their state’s future, whether it’s through voting or spreading the word if they are under 18, as many members of the CREATE Council are. Through Youth Show Out and National Voter Registration, the council members are working to empower their fellow millennials.