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Voting & Elections 01.11.2024

Star-Ledger/NY.Com (Op-Ed): It’s time for Newark to include young people in school board elections

With just over 3% participation, Newark’s school board elections could use an infusion of fresh, young energy. Give these students the chance to be heard, and you might be surprised by how much they can do. We encourage the Newark City Council to favorably pass their ordinance to lower the voting age for school board elections, and we can’t wait to see what these students accomplish when they’re given the chance.

Voting & Elections 09.19.2023

Public News Service: Some Maryland Communities Lowering Voting Age to 16

Alyssa Canty, director of youth programs for Common Cause, said young people are often beginning to see the effects of civic policy. "When they're 16- or 17-year-olds, they are starting their first part-time jobs," Canty pointed out. "So they now have income, so they're purchasing things, so they are paying sales tax, but they have no say in what happens to those tax dollars." Canty sees late high school as a good time to engage young people. "Usually around 16, 17 years old, that junior, senior year of high school, that's also when you take your really in-depth civics class, and you learn about how the government works," Canty explained. "It's almost like experimental learning where you get to actually go and cast a ballot." Canty noted as campaigns have spread across the country, they often see young people taking the lead on the issue. "We have seen where young people are energized by this issue," Canty pointed out. "In many places, they're the ones that are on the forefront leading this work because they see themselves as being really impacted by local elections, by their school boards, by their city councils."

Voting & Elections 09.6.2023

NPR: A 25-year-old from a small town leads North Carolina's Democratic Party toward 2024

But to local organizers, like North Carolina-based Vashti Hinton-Smith from the left-leaning group Common Cause, this is an ongoing, long and hard fight. "I do wonder sometimes if it's too late," said Hinton-Smith, who runs Common Cause's civic engagement program at HBCUs within the state. Though she agrees with Clayton's youth outreach plan and remains cautiously optimistic, she said politicians need to play the long game in order to make change, which may require less focus on wins right now. "Let's also look four more years past," Hinton-Smith said, referring to the 2028 election. "What does that look like? How do we prepare for that?"

Associated Press: Bill raising riot penalties in North Carolina clears House

Tyler Daye of Common Cause North Carolina said the legislation, if enacted, could be used to punish bystanders or speakers whose words inadvertently incite violence. “If a riot takes place, some innocent, peaceful protesters may be interwoven with intruders who have come to hijack their message,” Daye said.

Voting & Elections 09.1.2022

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In battleground Georgia, new voters on the rise before ‘22 election

New voters will turn out if they’re concerned about issues that are important to them, such as democracy, taxes, education and housing costs, said Aunna Dennis, executive director for Common Cause Georgia, a government accountability organization. “All these people are joining in democracy and getting their voices heard at the ballot box,” Dennis said. “We have to pay attention to why they want to go out and vote, and what they care about.”

Voting & Elections 08.17.2022

Indianapolis Star (Op-Ed): Jan. 6 insurrection 'startling' but catalyst to continue to fight for democracy

Not every member of my generation has given up on democracy. Motivated by the turmoil of present day American politics, we have taken to political activism. Protests are a peaceful way to express concern or disagreement. However, activism can only push the political agenda so far. While protests bring attention to issues, they don’t always force politicians to enact the change citizens want. We’ve got to follow up our protests with informed voting in every election and persuade our peers to do the same.

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