Power in numbers - How 30%of Virginians can be the most influential voters in the state

 
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Right after America finishes one hell of a campaign season, our state must endure another one to select a new governor on November 7th (it can be so exhausting to be a Virginian). We don’t yet know who will win, but either way, young people deserve to have our voices heard. We created #The30Percent campaign to highlight the power of millennials to influence politics and empower young Virginians to bring attention to their issues. 

#The30Percent is a shout out to the power millennials now possess in Virginia.

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The voice of our generation has never been stronger-- as long as we cast a ballot. There are roughly two million millennials in the Commonwealth which translates into about 30% of Virginia’s eligible voters. On November 7, 2017, millennials can be an electoral powerhouse-- if we vote. So participating in the civic process now is a unique opportunity to advance our beliefs and steer the future of the Commonwealth. 

When elections are close, #The30Percent can be the deciding factor.

Virginia is a battleground state, so a strong turnout of young Virginians sends a message to both parties that our issues deserve attention. However, there’s no incentive for either side to appease millennials if there are no electoral consequences for failing to do so. The last gubernatorial election was a nail-biter, but when 400,000 young Virginians didn’t participate, we failed to make the impact we could have as shown: 

 
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Turnout of #The30Percent on election day will determine how politicians prioritize issues. 

In 2016, the most popular reason for not voting was dislike of candidates and/or campaign issues. Any given campaign can fail to promise a solution for the problems we find the most pressing. It is hard to find a candidate who aligns perfectly with your beliefs, but the most effective way to impact policy is the proven ability to affect electoral outcomes. The AARP is one of the most influential organizations in the country because they represent an age group that is most likely to show up in any election. Their power was reinforced in 2016, when baby boomers voted 20 percentage points higher than millennials. Our generation deserves a voice at the table, but earning that seat stems from our presence at the polls. 


#The30Percent issues are your issues. So Virginia21 created a way for you to define them.

We’ve all heard that voting is an extension of your voice. Well, we think your voice should be amplified by more than just a ballot. This election season, Virginia21 is acting as a conduit for millennials to share their top concerns with the future governor. Students and young professionals from every corner of the Commonwealth are sending us a list of their issues to help build the first, non-partisan, “millennial issue platform.” These messages not only influence the focus of Virginia21, but we are also sending every single message to whomever becomes the next governor. This is a surefire way to define exactly what young Virginians expect from our leaders so we can hold them accountable. Since no one knows your main concerns better than you, filling out the form below enhances your voice regardless of who sits in the Governor’s mansion. 

We can't forget to enhance #The30Percent issues with our ballots

The success of our this initiative is dependent on how many voices are legitimized with a vote.  That’s how it works in politics. We have to acknowledge this reality if we want to effect change. Candidates and elected officials can't have a monopoly on the priorities of our government as long as we participate in the process. Our struggles with increasing cost of college, an exploding crisis of student debt, and a severe lack of economic opportunity are only a few issues which create consequences that affect our whole society. Our election system may be exhausting, but a better future will only come when the voices of #The30Percent use it to be heard.