During the election season two years ago, we highlighted how the team at EPIC encourages young adults with disabilities to make their voices heard and vote. With a general election coming up quickly and the usual Service Warrior schedule altered by the pandemic, EPIC has gotten creative in their approach to getting young adults engaged in the voting process. Through youth-led social media campaigns and virtual workshops, EPIC has been able to bring people together in support of voting!
The team at EPIC was aware that this election year would be different and quickly adapted to the unusual circumstances. They began offering virtual youth groups covering topics such as the right to vote, accessibility in voting, and mail-in voting. They recently held a session that covered all the statewide ballot questions in detail and discussed what they meant. Armed with the knowledge that, historically, people between 18-35 are the least likely to vote, the programming was designed to cater to young adults.
Following the initial workshops led by EPIC staff members, the young adults participating wanted to take matters into their own hands. They launched the EPIC Votes Campaign on social media, where they’ve tackled three different initiatives in order to educate people about voting rights. First, they have been posting voting do’s and don’ts, such as checking and confirming your voter registration, and making informed decisions. They have also been posting “I’m Voting Because…” pictures, where anyone can take a photo with a homemade sign that explains their reason for voting. The focus isn’t on who or what they’re voting for, but instead why it’s important to make their voices heard. Finally, every Wednesday, a young person takes over EPIC’s social media to chat with followers about why it’s important to vote, what issues matter to them, and answer any questions that come in. Having young adults on the forefront of every social media campaign serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of getting involved.
The final piece of EPIC’s program will be a virtual voting party in the days leading up to the election. It will be a space for youth, designed to review what to keep in mind on election day. The team has created a sheet that covers every way to vote, along with detailed information on how to ensure your ballot is counted.
EPIC’s multi-faceted approach to educating and empowering young adults to vote is incredibly important as the election draws closer. The best way to increase turnout for 18-35-year-old voters is through campaigns such as EPIC’s. Despite countless plans being interrupted by the pandemic, EPIC is still finding creative ways to engage young adults!