DoSomething.org, the largest organization dedicated to mobilizing young people for social change, is embarking on a national voter registration and ‘Get Out the Vote’ (GOTV) initiative. Through 2019 and 2020, it will work to ensure that all young people, regardless of race, age, income, location, or political affiliation, have the opportunity to make their voices heard by participating in this staple of the U.S. political process.
With a $500,000 gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, DoSomething.org will scale its support of hundreds of thousands of Americans in registering to vote by the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The philanthropic investment from the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark will help underserved voters and young People of Color register. Through this work, which will include a multi-pronged online and offline voter education strategy with relevant social influencers, online voter registration drives, SMS election reminders and voting plans, and offline community organizing, DoSomething.org aims to ensure that these groups do not face additional barriers to exercising their civil right. The funding will also allow the nonprofit to educate and activate disenfranchised groups around issues of voting rights, gerrymandering, and more.
“Youth voting impacts key issues, from the environment to public education,” said Aria Finger, CEO of DoSomething.org. “We are thrilled to have Craig Newmark’s support in mobilizing young Americans to become life-long voters. His commitment to helping ensure all voices are heard is especially important to us since the majority of our members are young People of Color, who often experience the most marginalization when it comes to voting.”
The GOTV initiative launches September 24th, National Voter Registration Day, by sending SMS and email messages reminding DoSomething.org members to either register to vote or update their registration information. Following this effort, DoSomething.org will lead a concentrated push ahead of National Absentee Ballot Day (October 8th), a U.S. awareness day created and launched by DoSomething.org in 2018 to reduce obstacles to voting for students on college campuses. This will include helping college students request their absentee ballots and meet state by state deadlines, sending stamps to mail their ballots in, and giving them the celebration they deserve for making their voice heard. The organization will also focus on empowering young absentee voters through targeted, on-the-ground education campaigns on college campuses in states that have 2019 gubernatorial elections and other key races.
“Protecting the right to vote and ensuring that all Americans can practice their civic duty is vital to the strength of our democracy,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “Most importantly, young voters who are ignored or marginalized must be empowered to express their political opinions and hold elected officials accountable, which is why I’m a passionate supporter of DoSomething.org’s Get Out the Vote efforts.”
With over 5 million members creating impact at scale, and 25 years of experience activating young people through national social change campaigns, DoSomething.org is uniquely positioned to lower the barriers to voter registration for this massive audience during this election cycle. The organization’s voter registration initiatives during the midterm elections in 2018 directly registered 118,706 young people to vote through the DoSomething.org platform, contributing to the largest youth voter turnout in over 25 years.