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From the Streets to the Ballot Box: How Youth Organizing Impacts Voting-Related Attitudes and Behavior

Sat, April 10, 10:40am to 12:10pm EDT (10:40am to 12:10pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Grassroots Community and Youth Organizing for Education Reform Paper and Symposium Sessions


This study illuminates the relationship between youth organizing and electoral politics, drawing on interview and focus group data with 144 participants involved in climate justice or gun violence prevention organizing. Initial findings suggest that voting varies considerably in its degree of centrality within specific organizational theories of change. This variation cuts across both movement and organizational lines and appears to be associated with two factors: a) the perceived scale of the problem(s) groups seek to address, and b) the centrality of community-based organizing and engagement to their work. Individual’s attitudes towards voting as a vehicle for social change vary according to the relative place of voting in their organization’s theory of change. This research raises implications for youth voter turnout.