A big effort is underway this week to steer 18 to 24-year-old North Texans to the polls this election season.
Empowerment Week 2020 is a nonpartisan, student effort to get young people registered and motivated to vote by using social media platforms. Students are blitzing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with posts linking to registration forms and voter information
The initiative is the brainchild of VOTE, Voice of the Empowered, a Tarrant County student-led group that helps young voters navigate the voting process.
“Voting isn't a partisan checklist. It isn't a goal for x-party over another. It’s a democratic and civic duty that we all must enshrine in our kids,” said Tulsi Lohani, a senior at Trinity High School in Euless.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“I want everyone to understand if they want change, if they want a difference in their world, it comes down to you. Even if it's not the outcome you want, you did everything to make sure your voice was heard,” Lohani said.
Lohani is 17, not old enough to vote, but he and others want to empower his peers with information to convince them to take their civic duty seriously.
“My entire life growing up, my parents have taught me to be civically engaged. I think it's important for young people to go out and make sure their voices are heard,” he said. “I felt a sense of duty to help my fellow peers feel as empowered as I do to help make changes.”
VOTE’s counterpart in Dallas County, Student Voter Empowerment Coalition, SVEC, will follow up with a similar campaign to educate young voters about early voting.
Both groups are supported by March to the Polls, a Dallas organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout.
“Young people, age 18 to 24, are historically under-represented in our elections, and one of the demographics where we focus our energies. Tulsi and other members of team are working to change that narrative. They are all high school students who are passionate about educating and motivating their peers to get involved in our democracy,” Athena Chavez, a March to the Polls board member, told NBC5.
“March to the Polls does a lot of work with high schools. We have contracts with the Dallas ISD and several surrounding school districts to handle voter registration at their schools. Before COVID-19, our volunteers went into government classes to educate and register students. When COVID-19 hit, we developed a Voter Registration Curriculum and delivered it to government teachers to use. Many local school districts are now using our curriculum,” Chavez said.