N.C. student leaders help increase voter turnout
According to preliminary results, turnout at several North Carolina student precincts were up this election year.
The numbers at North Carolina State University’s precinct increased by 13 percent between the 2008 and 2012. Western Carolina University increased by 3.25 percent this year.
“Despite the dire predictions of low youth turnout today, young people once again showed that when voter mobilization efforts pay attention to them, they show up on Election Day,” said Renford Lynch, North Carolina Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG) New Voters Project Campaign Coordinator and a sophomore at NC State.
Lynch and a team of dozens of student leaders of NCPIRG’s New Voters Project spearheaded an intensive voter mobilization drive on campuses over the past several weeks to help register and urge students to the polls on Election Day.
Using scientifically-proven voter outreach and mobilization techniques such as peer-to-peer phonebanks and canvasses, text message outreach and classroom announcements, the campaign made tens of thousands of vote reminders in the days leading up to the election. They also helped to register thousands of young voters through a combination of online-voting software application and pavement-pounding with registration forms attached to clipboards.
Creative events such as the “I Voted Before It Was Cool” paper mustache event and “Wish You Were Here!” photo petitions at the polls on Election Day also helped to build buzz on campus and reach thousands more potential voters.
“The best people to urge a young person to the poll is another young person,” said Lynch. “Our campaign shows definitively that if you pay attention to young voters, they will pay attention to you.”
Raleigh-based NCPIRG bills itself as “a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.”