Organization hopes to maximize millennial voter turnout

by Mariah Hirsch, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — As of 2016, 31 percent of the voting population are in the millennial generation, according to a study done by the Pew Research Center. However, only about half of all eligible people ages 18-29 voted in the 2012 presidential election.

“Millennials are the largest voting block in this country,” said Seth Andersen, director of the John C. Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College. “You have the ability as a generation to literally change the course of this country.”

On Simpson’s campus, Andrew Goodman Foundation ambassadors work to empower students to advocate, activate and organize. Simpson AGF ambassadors include Olivia Anderson, Tegan Jarchow and Michelle Beving. Representatives of student organizations come together with AGF and are working hard this year to maximize voter registration and greatly improve millennial voting turnout.

The AGF is an organization named after civil rights activist, Andrew Goodman. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Goodman joined Freedom Summer ’64 to register African-Americans to vote. On his first day in Mississippi, he and two workers were brutally murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Their story was a milestone movement for the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Sixty-two percent of Simpson students voted in the 2012 presidential election, according to Andersen. “Eighteen- to 24-year-old’s have the lowest voter turnout,” Andersen said. “Part of it is that you guys are busy, so our job is to make voting much easier.” One thing the Simpson AGF ambassadors are doing is encouraging registered voters to vote early. However, registering to vote can be a process in itself, which is why the Simpson AGF ambassadors are working hard to promote National Voter Registration Day.

This year National Voter Registration Day will be held on Sept 27. This single day of volunteer, technology and media efforts will hopefully create awareness of voter registration opportunities.

Leading up to the day, political organizations on campus are coming together to host a debate watch party. The event will be held in Black Box starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sept 26. Free food will be available, as well as a photo booth and the showing of the debate live on a big screen.