Chicago Votes Voter Guide Increases Youth Participation During the 2016 Primary Elections

September 27, 2017

Chicago Votes is a nonprofit organization working to build a more inclusive democracy by putting power in the hands of young Chicagoans. It is engaging and developing a new generation of leaders by opening the doors of government and politics to young people from all corners of the city. With support from Voqal, Chicago Votes informed and better engaged young voters during the 2016 primaries.

Leading up to the 2016 primaries, Chicago Votes wanted to know why young people didn’t vote in primary elections. Was it because they didn’t care, were they skeptical of the electoral system at large, or was it something else? Research says one of the leading factors for not voting was that many millennials didn’t feel they had enough knowledge and insight to make an informed decision at the polls. The solution: a voter guide aimed at giving those voters the information they were missing.

Targeted towards low propensity, youth voters, the guide included information about where the candidates stood on the several issues including: economic justice, LGBTQIA rights, decriminalizing non-violent offenses, climate change, women’s rights, immigration reform and higher education affordability. Utilizing the Voter Action Network, this guide was sent to voters from young Latinx, Black and White communities. With this increased information, youth participation also increased. Thanks in part to that increase, Cook county elected its first African-American woman as States’ Attorney.

At Voqal, we believe that an educated and engaged public is vital for functioning democracy. Voqal is proud to have supported the work of Chicago Votes to create more educated and engaged youth voters in Chicago and looks forward to the long-term effects its continued efforts will no doubt yield.