Voter advocates try to increase youth vote


Photo credit: Kate Nuelle

illustration by Kate Nuelle

This presidential election cycle, people are urging their peers to vote more than ever before. Social media posts, university emails, professors, friends, and family are all inundating us with messages about why we should go out and vote. To encourage the youth vote, Trinity invited students from different student organizations to learn how to be a voter advocate.

Caden Young, a sophomore Business Analytics and Technology and Computer Science major, says, “The goal was to learn how to use [voting] resources so we could share information with our peers—how to register or check if you’re registered, how to learn more about candidates, where and how to vote early or on Election Day, and understanding what happens after the election.” This information helped students become informed themselves and share it with their peers.

Voter advocates use their new knowledge in their networks. This follows the idea that every vote counts, so if voter advocates can encourage a few friends and club members to vote, they will be able to make a difference in this election.

“In September, I was encouraging people to register or update their addresses. Then in October, I was mostly posting about early voting—sharing links to polling locations and hours, explaining sample ballots, talking about the best locations for wait times, etc.,” Young said.

Young is hopeful that these actions will help make a difference. Because many voter advocates are very vocal about voter advocacy people knew they could turn to him to ask questions.

Trinity has highly encouraged students to participate in this election, especially in comparison to the infamous 2018 senate race between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz or in the local elections that have occurred in the meantime.

Nicole Cook, a junior accounting major, said, “I wish more was done to encourage young voters to vote in local elections as well.”

Local elections impact the lives of citizens of San Antonio immensely and giving just as much attention to them would help voter turn out.

Joy Patterson, a junior psychology major, said, “I think Trinity has always pushed for voter advocacy. So often on campus, there are booths set up or people coming up to you asking are you registered and registering students to vote. I just think that because of the last election and how many people did not vote, the importance of voting is emphasized more now by individuals and Trinity.”

Students have become deputized and helped their peers become engaged voters before but the wave of encouragement by the University to become involved politically is new.

Young believes that Trinity is responding to a generation that is very politically engaged online and wants to make sure that passion is translated to the polls.

“It’s not that they weren’t pushing it before, but that they’re working even harder now to help students become civically engaged,” Young said.

Many people became interested in voter advocacy because of the numerous major political challenges facing Americans.

“The election has become a referendum on the pandemic, the economy, climate change, the justice system, and more,”Young said.

Much like the Bush/Gore and Obama/McCain elections people are calling this the election of our lifetime.

Young voters are feeling the pressure of the political climate and are looking for ways to relieve this stress.

“Women’s rights, healthcare, the Supreme Court, and climate change are all at stake in this election, so don’t focus on the personalities of two candidates as much but focus more on the policies you would like to see upheld, dismantled, or created in these next four years,”Patterson said.

“I do feel that everyone should vote, elections usually do not make a massive change in the system, it’s not cool or revolutionary by any means but exercising your civil right to vote is one of the bare minimum things you can do and if you are privileged enough to be able to vote I believe you should,” said Cook.

As this election cycle wraps up, people are left more educated on the impacts of voting and how they can play a part in politics.