Letter to the Editor: The college vote is key to progressive victories in November

The growing electorate of young people can lead the way on causes like gun control

This year, an incredible shift is occurring: Young people are mobilizing politically. In the seven months since the Parkland tragedy, the share of newly-registered 18-to-29 year-old voters has surged nationwide. The fastest-growing, most diverse and most progressive voting bloc in the United States is joining the electoral fight.

Young people are rising up to combat the regressive policies of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They're taking up the mantle on issues such as the rising cost of education to gun safety. 

This spring, students around the country protested in support of common sense gun reform so they can be safe in their schools. I remember being terrified to go to school after the shooting at Columbine High School, and the fact that another generation of students are living in the same fear inspired me to get involved and rectify this injustice once and for all.  

After working with the brave high school students who organized this year’s March for Our Lives in Phoenix, I became convinced that the youth electorate is an unstoppable force with the power to transform this country into an equitable one. This is why I’m working with NextGen America to organize young people to vote. 

The young organizers I work with are bright, passionate, and energetic -- and they’re ready to not only participate, but also to lead the way. During Welcome Week this fall, our goal was to make registering to vote as important a part of Arizona State University students’ back-to-school routine as moving in or buying books. 

Read more: What brought protestors to Tempe's Original ChopShop?

From August 11 to 23, as students returned to ASU and community colleges all over the East Valley, we engaged young people, registered them to vote and met them in the places they already frequent. Voting is the key to translating our generation’s immense energy into real change — and we know that when we vote, we win. This November, Washington will know a new and formidable force in American politics: youth.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this letter to the editor are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. This letter to the editor was submitted by Nicolette Del Palacio, a psychology and political science senior and regional organizer for NextGen Rising AZ, the Arizona youth voter registration arm of progressive advocacy nonprofit NextGen America. 

Reach the author at Nicolette.Delpalacio@asu.edu

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

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