More young voters cast their ballot in this week’s runoff election than in February, which is an outcome attributed in part to the culmination of efforts led by organizations to increase the youth vote.
“I feel like the youth should be more involved,” said Arseny Acosta, youth organizer with GoodKids MadCity. “A lot of stuff that candidates do affect the youth, like public safety, measures around school safety, and also the programs that they offer us, afterschool programs.”
According to Chicago Board of Elections data, there was a 32% increase from Feb. 28 to April 4 of votes cast by voters ages 18 to 24. Voters ages 25 to 34 increased their votership by 24%.
Organizations like GoodKids MadCity and Chicago Votes held events encouraging young people to vote, including one held the day before the runoff that involved helping young voters with IDs or driver’s licenses. The event was in collaboration with Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias and other groups like the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization.
However, voting is just one part of civic engagement.
“We have to keep doing work outside of elections,” said Stevie Valles, co-executive director of Chicago Votes. “Participating in democracy doesn’t start and finish at the ballot box. These leaders still need to hear from us.”