NAFEO was privileged to partner with NextGen America on its Black Lives Rising campaign aimed at increasing African American youth voter turnout for the 2018 midterm elections. NextGen America’s mission is to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American; NAFEO was honored to partner with NextGen America to visit HBCU campuses, and assist with voter education, voter registration, and voter mobilization.
By working with campus-based NextGen America field organizers and Fellows, we were able to assist in substantially increasing HBCU student participation across the Nation. For example, 5 HBCUs (Florida A&M University (FL), Bethune-Cookman University (FL), Livingstone College (NC), North Carolina A&T University (NC), and Lincoln University (PA) are located in voting precincts where the majority of the registered voters are between the ages of 18-35. By partnering with NextGen America, NAFEO was able to help make a significant impact on youth voter enthusiasm on these campuses as evidenced by the 77% overall increase in voter turnout in these districts, when compared to 2014 midterm election voting numbers. This increased youth voter turnout was vitally important to the outcomes in several races.
According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, the 2014 midterm elections saw the lowest young voter turnout in the past 40 years, with only 19.9% of voters ages 18-29 showing up at the polls. The votes in several districts are still being counted for last night’s midterm elections, but according to a recent poll conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, 40% of young voters ages 18-29 indicated that they definitely would vote in the 2018 midterms. This overwhelming increase is youth voter turnout is due in large part to the work of organizations like NAFEO, NextGen America and their partners, to engage young voters on their campuses and in their communities to ensure their voices are heard and they understand the importance of their votes.
NAFEO thanks and congratulates everyone who played a role in increasing the civic participation of our students. We hope that voter participation will become an imperative for all HBCU students and college students at large because they know that voting is the single most important action they can take to improve the plight of those who have been traditionally locked out and left behind, and eliminate the wealth, health, and achievement disparities that continue to prevent America from being its most just and equitable self.
When we vote our truths, we seize the power. When we vote we…let the entire country know that the vote is the power!