The 2018 General Election has come and gone. While we are waiting to hear the numbers for voting rates, we wanted to take a minute to reflect and celebrate the success of our efforts here at Inspire U.S.
We often say that our team is invaluable but it’s milestones like these elections that provide us the opportunity to really look back at our individual and collective growth.
Before we dive into the statistics and other highlights, we wanted to take a moment to outline some context. We created our 2018 vision at the tail-end of 2015 with the 2016 Presidential Election on the horizon. This vision was revealed at one of our early staff retreats - one of the few opportunities where our staff across the country gather together to be present in the same location. Our vision was outlined as:
By 2018, we will see an amplified representation of informed, confident, and empowered young voices participating in elections.
Today, we have reached out to 53,756 potential voters and of these more than 39,000 registered voters have been added since the 2016 election. On top of that, if these young adults become lifelong voters, the number of ballots they will cast grows exponentially.
From the data side of things, these kind of numbers are really exciting. One cool thing about each data point is that they represent an individual student who has the opportunity to use their voice, cast a ballot, and have power in their community. Together, we have helped our Inspired Leaders make that happen.
Since 2016 we have worked with high schools in new states including California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and are beginning collaborative efforts in Florida. We have started to figure out how to best train teachers and students remotely to really enhance our reach and create accessibility for high school students across the country.
This fall, we coordinated more busing to the polls events than any other year, hosted parties at polling places on Dallas Community College campuses, and worked with students to reach out to their peers to make sure they are voting on election day. We have sent emails to 34,801 people and texted 41,274 people with election reminders. We made it through the primary elections where MANY of our schools had higher voter turnout rates than their own state's average.
In a more qualitative sense, a lot of exciting things happened for us for the first time. Taylor Swift featured a student in one of our shirts on her Instagram story. America Ferrera and Natalie Portman visited Dobson High School in Arizona and hosted an amazing event with our shirts in every photo. The New York Times wrote an article about high school turnout and our work.
All of these things don't just happen. They take time, energy, results, and a certain level of buzz before we gain traction outside of our civic engagement world. All of this has happened because of endless support, hard work, and the passions of our students. None of the work we do here at Inspire is in isolation - at every step, we have amazing collaborations with other community organizations, offices of elected officials, high schools, and the students themselves. We have truly built a movement to be proud of since the first unveiling of our 2018 vision.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be working on continuing to build Inspire so that we can work with more students across the country. We will be developing a new vision for 2020, figuring out new puzzles in how to best do our work, and growing into new states. There will certainly be road bumps along the way but we will be together, figuring out how to keep amplifying the youth voice across the country.
We want to thank you - supporters, partners, and friends - for all of the input, feedback, and generosity you have shown us in the past years. We cannot wait to take this next step with you and are excited for what lies in store for the future of young generations to cast a ballot.
The Inspire U.S. Team