There was a time when the “out-of-state trouble-maker” critique worked, particularly in the south. In 2021 – not so much. Rachel Janfaza explains how “Young people are getting out the vote in Georgia — from thousands of miles away” at CNN Politics:
From messaging potential voters on dating apps to helping pay for Uber rides to the polls, young people across the country are playing a role in the Georgia Senate runoff elections from afar, and they’re getting creative with digital techniques while doing so….Students, influencers and celebrities got to work as soon as they realized both of Georgia’s Senate seats were heading to runoffs on January 5, as no candidate won more than 50% of the vote in November.
….On the left, Students for Ossoff and Warnock, a youth-led organization unaffiliated with the Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock campaigns but working to drum up support for the Democratic candidates, has mobilized a group of national field organizers, who live out of state but work to turn out voters for the two Georgia Democrats. They organize digitally by hosting Zoom calls and phone banks and help run the organization’s viral TikTok account.
Janfaza notes further, “According to Emily Zanieski, a student at Georgia Southern University who helps lead national programming for the organization, Students for Ossoff and Warnock has attracted members from Students for Markey — a group that gained national attention for their wit and humor online while helping Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey win his Democratic primary in September.” Also,
For its part, Sunrise Movement, the progressive youth-led climate justice organization, has mobilized their 400-plus local hubs to call and text into Georgia. The group is prioritizing contact with young voters who are under the age of 35. Since November, more than 1,000 Sunrise volunteers have made more than 500,000 calls, sent over 299,000 texts and reached 18,700 young voters in Georgia, according to the organization.
…Plus1 Vote, a New York-based nonpartisan organization that encourages voters to bring a plus one to the polls to increase turnout, is providing free Uber rides to the polls across Georgia for early voting, absentee ballot drop off and on Election Day. Georgians are encouraged to use the voucher code “VoteGA” in the Uber app to receive their free ride to the polls.
Meanwhile, organizers with “Swipe Out the Vote Georgia” are using dating apps such as Tinder and Hinge to contact Georgia voters and ensure they have a plan to vote. According to messaging from the group, the technique is “for those who are tired of phone banking and texting, and want to try something new and exciting.”
In addition, check out Elliot C. McLaughlin’s “How Atlanta rappers helped flip the White House (and they’re hustling to flip the US Senate)” also at CNN Politics, which reports on the extraordinary role of Hip Hop artists and their fans in sparking political activism in the heart of the south.
If Georgia’s runoff flips the senate majority, there will be lots of discussion about which demographic played the pivotal role. But win or lose, these young activists deserve great credit for mobilizing their generation to win a better future.