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Student Voter Registration Drive in ID Moves Online

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Millenials and Generation Z make up 40% of the voting population.


Classrooms won't look the same this fall, and neither will efforts to register Idaho students to vote.

"What The Vote Idaho" is a nonpartisan project dedicated to registering and getting young adults engaged in the election process.

Chris Stokes, co-founder of What The Vote Idaho, said the group's campaign involves going to schools in normal years.

But because of COVID-19, they've opted instead to create a video to push voter registration this year.

"This one is meant to take place of the volunteers who are usually in the classrooms, actually speaking to the kids directly; looking in their eyes, inspiring them," Stokes said.

What The Vote Idaho is ramping up its efforts ahead of Voter Registration Day on Sep. 22, reaching out to teachers across the state to see if they'll run the video in their classrooms. The group is sponsored by the Boise branch of the American Association of University Women.

Stokes said millennials and Generation Z make up 40% of the voting population and have shown in recent months they're enthusiastic about politics.

What The Vote Idaho wants students to take the next step and ensure their voices are heard.

The campaign features four students explaining the importance of elections: "...Here's the thing. No matter what you think about politics, it affects every aspect of your life. Just look at the current pandemic or the protest marches for racial justice. Do you want your favorite hiking and mountain biking trail to stay open for public use? Can you afford to move out and live on minimum wage?"

The video also features an explanation of the positions that will be up for election and why.

Nancy Viano, another co-founder of the group, said voting can be overwhelming. So, the What The Vote Idaho website features other information beyond registration.

"There are also resources there for fact-checking, as well as looking up specific candidates," Viano explained. "If they're incumbents, you can look up voting records. You can see their platforms, their opinion on particular issues."

The deadline for Idahoans to preregister for the election, including for online registration, is Oct. 9. But after that, people still can register up to and including Election Day on Nov. 3.