(This blog was authored prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this point the decision to re-open schools in the Fall, and afterschool programs, is not yet clear. Thus, at the end of the blog, we list some suggestions on how youth can be involved in the Fall election digitally.)
The 2020 election offers a number of opportunities to engage older youth and with recent Black Lives Matters escalating efforts, there is no better time for youth to be involved in making a change through the ballot box. We can frame these efforts as “meaningful participation”, “civic engagement”, “youth leadership” or “community service”. There are a number of organizations and initiatives that have designed curriculums, program tools and other materials to assist afterschool providers in their efforts to engage youth in the 2020 election.
|Source: Getty Images|
Did you know that young people can pre-register to vote at the age of 16-17? I didn’t, until I learned this from some of these materials below. There are a number of ways that youth can be involved in the 2020 election, even if they are not old enough to vote. These include sponsoring a voter registration event, supporting family and friend’s participation, uplifting stories and issues they care about, supporting a candidate’s campaign through volunteering or being part of the election process.
|Donny Faaliliu, |
After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles
We also learned about how teachers and youth workers can use a video by rapper, Yellopain, entitled, "My Vote Don't Count," which can be viewed by clicking on the image below.
|Source: Yellopain, "My Vote Don't Count"|
Below are a number of resources that you can check out:
- Growing Voters: 18 Ways Youth Under 18 Can Contribute to Elections
- Afterschool Alliance Election Toolkit
- Rock the Vote Democracy Class
- The Civics Center- Bringing Voter Registration to your School
- Ed Week: Michelle Obama Wants to Train Teachers to Help Students Vote
- New York Times- Election 2020: 11 Ways to Engage Students From Now Until November
- Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
- Afterschool Alliance
- Rock the Vote
- The Civics Center
Digital tools for youth who want to engage in the 2020 election: