Fall 2022 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights
The 2022 Midterm Elections are now officially over, along with the Fall ‘22 Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Semester. Young voters made their voices heard loud and clear, and they are a force in our democracy that is here to stay. Carrying on the momentum from the historic youth turnout in 2020, young voters turned out at the second highest rate in a Midterm Election in the past thirty years despite all the obstacles in their way.
As a young person myself, I was not surprised to see high voter turnout. With the continuing attack on voting rights for people of all ages, plus the overturning of Roe v. Wade, young people are paying attention, and we’re less than pleased. We are sick and tired of feeling like our voices are not heard or represented in the room where it happens — where laws get made, where major Supreme Court rulings get overturned, where another case of police brutality gets thrown out due to qualified immunity, and more. Additionally, we are witnessing the rapidly changing state of our economy and the ever-pressing issue of climate change, an issue Gen Z and Millennials will face more than other generations. To put it lightly, we are over it.
This semester, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors transformed this frustration into fuel to power their organizational efforts in getting students civically engaged and ready to vote. The Andrew Goodman Foundation is proud to share how we successfully executed our 2022 Campaign to the Polls, as part of the semester and ahead of the 2022 Midterm Elections.
The 2022 Campaign to the Polls was designed to activate and mobilize young voters through the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program and beyond to show up at the polls to make their voices heard. The campaign consisted of eight milestones, each centering around a civic holiday to prepare young people to vote or to remove any potential barriers a student may face in voting. Through digital organizing, we contacted over 1.5 million young people about the election! And through the Andrew Goodman Ambassadors’ on-the-ground organizing, we helped register 10,569 voters, hosted 500 events, recruited 538 poll workers, and engaged with 80,940 people.
Take a look at some of the other highlights from the Fall 2022 Semester of the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program below!
Voter Registration and Institutionalization
- At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors successfully tabled to help students register to vote, check their registration status, and create clever buttons. The Ambassadors also organized a civic engagement festival called VoterPalooza the same week, where attendees got to jam to some tunes, register to vote, and listen to others speak on why they vote.
- The Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at University of California-Berkeley hosted VoteChella, which is just what it sounds like – Coachella, but make it democracy! Thousands of students and community members gathered for a free concert with amazing musical artists and guest speakers from student groups and local organizations. VoteChella served as an organizing space where attendees could check their registration status, register to vote, and learn more about civic engagement ahead of the 2022 Midterm Elections.
Civic and Voter Education
- The Big 12 Votes Iniative’s goal is to tackle the issue of low voter turnout among college students by advancing nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement, and student voter participation on each campus. At the first in-conference football games at Iowa State University, the preamble was posted on the scoreboard during the playing of the national anthem with a get-out-the-vote message from The Big 12 and Cyclones Vote Coalition.
- Last semester, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Simpson College worked with campus administration to get a civic engagement presentation incorporated as a mandatory part of the newly developed first-year curriculum, called Foundations. This fall was the first semester that these presentations were mandatory for every Foundations 101 course, and AGF Ambassadors were successful in presenting and registering first year students in every Foundations 101 class.
Get Out The Vote (GOTV)
- At Pace University, the Andrew Goodman Ambassadors organized their voting plans, helped register over 117 students to vote, and hosted events like Kahoot Election Trivia and writing letters to voters in Texas who haven’t voted in a while.
- The Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Towson University hosted a Party at the Polls to celebrate the first day of early voting in Maryland. The event included voter education, food, a voting-related scavenger hunt, prizes, conversations about what their dream is for our democracy, and directions to the early voting location on campus.
- During the early voting period for the Georgia Senate Runoff Election, Evan Malbrough, Member of AGF’s Board of Directors, and Gabrielle Slaughter, AGF’s HBCU Lead Program Manager, showed up at Morehouse College to bring more awareness to the early on-campus polling site with a Ben & Jerry’s Truck that read “Vote like our democracy depends on it… because it does!”
Youth Voting Rights Advocacy
- As part of Cornell Votes, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors advocated to have an on-campus polling site this year. Thanks to their advocacy, nearly all students living on campus had the option to vote on campus on Election Day.
- Every student deserves a choice in how they vote. This choice was not available to the students attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Through our Student Vote Choice Campaign, AGF helped advocate for the on-campus polling location. After a hard-fought legal battle, nearly 3,000 students could participate in the 2022 Midterm Elections and make their voices heard without having to leave campus.
- The Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Miami Dade College-Wolfson hosted tabling events throughout the season of civic holidays, like National Voter Registration Day pictured here with t-shirts that read “Ask me about registering to vote!” Through their civic leadership, more and more students and community members were able to check their registration status, register to vote, request a mail-in ballot, and be fully prepared for the 2022 Midterm Elections.
- During National Voter Education Week, the Campus Teams at Elon University, Texas Woman’s University, and University of California-Berkeley participated in an Instagram Takeover wherein Andrew Goodman Ambassadors “took over” The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Instagram Story to show us a day of organizing focused on voter education. The “takeovers” can be viewed in the Takeovers! Highlight on our Instagram page, @AndrewGoodmanFoundation.
- At the University of the District of Columbia, Andrew Goodman Ambassador Morgan set up a table on Vote Early Day to encourage civic participation on campus. From what Morgan has observed throughout her life, she believes change is necessary. “Voting is a huge part of that change. You can’t complain about the circumstances unless you take an active interest and make it your goal to change them. The people we put in office can make these changes.”
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) estimates that 27% of young people ages 18-29 voted in the 2022 Midterm Elections, with estimates even higher in some key states. In the face of headlines swirling about how young people are apathetic to the political process, it’s safe to say we have successfully put that narrative to rest. Young people vote, and we vote for what we believe is right: systemic change and a seat at the table in building a sustainable future.
For now, we will anxiously await the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education to release their National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), an instrumental study in our organizing work with Andrew Goodman Campus Teams. We look forward to reviewing the NSLVE reports next year to analyze how each campus turned out in the 2022 Midterm Elections.
While the Fall 2022 Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Semester is behind us, we are looking ahead to continue building this momentum in preparation for the 2024 Presidential Election and the local elections in between. The turnout of young voters in the 2022 Midterm Elections is a small glimpse of our power. Young people are a force to be reckoned with in our democracy, and a voice that will only get louder until we create lasting systemic change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Matthews is the Program and Communications Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her position, she works with student leaders and in communications surrounding their work. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida.