VOTERISE: Helping Educators Teach Fundamental Civic Engagement Skills
We met with Hope Zitting-Goeckeritz, Executive Director of Voterise, to learn more about what Voterise does to help young people use their voice in our democracy. UCLC : First, what is Voterise? Hope : VOTERISE is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit organization with a mission to educate, engage, and empower Utah’s 16-29-year-olds and underrepresented groups through voter pre-registration and registration and turnout. What is its purpose, target, goals with respect to preparation for civic life in K-12? VOTERISE aims to increase civic engagement in Utah’s youth. Although Utah routinely shows up as one of the youngest states, our young people are not participating in the decisions that directly impact their lives. For example, in 2014, only 8.1% of Utah’s 18-29-year-olds voted. In 2018, that number only about-doubled. In 2018, despite having the youngest population in the U.S., only 14% of Utah youth were pre-registered to vote. VOTERISE knows that voting is a habitual activity and when youth are shown the importance of voting, they are much more likely to start voting (when eligible) and continue voting throughout their lifetime. VOTERISE aims to ensure that every young person in Utah knows the importance of civic engagement as early in their life as possible. How can educators or others get involved in or support your mission? Invite VOTERISE to come into your classroom and do a 15-minute presentation for your students on the importance of being civically involved in our community getting eligible students pre-registered and registered to vote! We also offer meaningful volunteer opportunities (if interested, email email@example.com ). The public can help decide the winner of Voterise's recent contest, IF I RAN THE CITY, wherein Utahns 16-29 years-olds posted a public 60-90 second video about what their top priority would be if they ran their city. The winners receive generous prizes ($1,000 for first place, $750 for second, and $500 for third) and the chance to shadow their mayor/city councilperson! To vote, go to voterise.org/cityvote and vote anytime between (now) and 10pm on Jan. 29! Good luck to all of our contestants! What brought you to the Utah Civic Learning Collaborative? Where would you like it to focus its efforts? VOTERISE loves being part of UCLC! Having this community of educators, administrators, students, nonprofit partners, and others come together with a shared goal of civic participation as a necessity in education is extremely fortifying. VOTERISE especially is incredibly honored to share space with Utah’s many game-changers.