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Let Youth Voters Take the Wheel

Training youth to vote should be as important as teaching them to drive

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Graphic by @GorjusDoc

Think back to the day you got your driver’s license. Maybe you did a victory dance, after passing the road test on the first try. You probably took a class and spent hours on driving practice. If someone asked you, “Who taught you to drive?”, you probably have an answer.

Now, try to remember, who taught you to vote? Did you receive your first Voter Registration card with the same lead-up and fanfare that came with your driver’s license? Despite its central and sacred role in our democracy, the American right to vote is not often regarded with the same anticipation, celebration, and sobering weight of new responsibility that comes with operating a motor vehicle. Despite the disproportionate effort it takes to earn a driver’s license, compared to registering to vote, overwhelmingly more teens drive than show up at the polls. As with other disparities between youth of color and white youth, structural racism impacts both these rights of passage. Racial disparities in access to driver’s licenses and publicly funded driver’s education classes are mirrored in the access to quality civic education and voter registration efforts for youth of color.

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Mikva DC students serving as Student Election Workers, 2018
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Mikva DC students doing Get out the Vote work, February 2020
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ROAD MAP

Here is our Road Map for supporting young people in becoming informed and life-long voters.

Written by

The Executive Director of Mikva Challenge DC, Robyn is passionate about providing authentic spaces for DC youth to investigate, affect & change the world.

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