NextGen Arizona works with ASU students to promote youth voting

The student volunteers went door to door spreading information about the issues on this year's ballot

NextGen Arizona held a canvassing event at the ASU Palo Verde Starbucks on the Tempe campus on Sunday, Nov. 4, to get ASU students to encourage their peers to go out and vote. 

NextGen Arizona is the statewide branch of NextGen America, an organization funded by billionaire political activist Tom Steyer that promotes progressive values. Its event on Sunday and its other canvasses were held to promote youth voting in Arizona congressional districts 1, 2 and 9. 

Read more: 2018 Election: 9th Congressional District

Student volunteers signed up to canvass in one of the three districts, where they went door-to-door, handed out pamphlets and shared information on the candidates and propositions on the ballot.

NextGen Arizona will be at the Palo Verde West voting booth on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to phone bank, canvass and help educate voters before they vote. 

"We’re going out, and we’ve got ballot guides that just explain what the candidates have to offer, some information on the props, things like that, so everyone is as educated as they can be for Tuesday," said Bailey Price, a sophomore majoring in sustainability at Paradise Valley Community College and one of the volunteers canvassing. 

NextGen Arizona has endorsed several Democratic candidates, including David Garcia for Arizona Governor and Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Senate. NextGen America as a whole focuses on a progressive platform rather than aligning with a single party. 

"We are a value-based organization, and it just so happens that all of the Democrats running represent our values, which are human rights and protecting our environment," Sawyer Treese, a senior studying sustainability, said. 

Political science and urban planning senior Sarah Landers also said NextGen America's goal is to support progressive values, which they do through endorsing candidates and encouraging certain votes on propositions.For example, NextGen Arizona has taken a stance against Proposition 305 and in favor of Proposition 127. 

ASU senior Alex Smith poses for a photo at the desk set up by NextGen Arizona on Nov. 4, 2018, in Tempe, Arizona.

"We’re really fighting for candidates and propositions like David Garcia, Greg Stanton, Kyrsten Sinema, who are representing progressive values for young people in Arizona," Landers said. "We are fighting for clean energy, affordable health care and access to affordable education as well."

Landers added that the Arizona congressional districts the group is canvassing have many young people they're trying to reach. 

"We’re focusing on (congressional) districts 1, 2, and 9 because they are competitive races," Landers said. "They have a lot of young people in those districts. We really want the candidates in those districts to be representative of the people that live in their districts."

When canvassing, the volunteers are hoping to have open discussions with young voters about the candidates and the issues and to make sure the students are able to vote. 

"Every canvass, we want to have meaningful conversations with young people and just people who have not consistently gone to the polls," Treese said. "We begin by making sure that people who were expecting their ballot actually got it in the mail, otherwise we direct them to the voter suppression hotline ... We talk about candidates. We make sure that the facts are straight and that people have a true understanding of who they are voting for." 

Although NextGen Arizona is supporting certain candidates and propositions for the Nov. 6 election, its overall goal comes back to encouraging youth voters to exercise their right. 

"We really just wanna see tons of young people," Price said. "That’s how I would know we did good here, is if the voter turnout rate was the highest its ever been." 

 Reach the reporter at and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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