The Covid-19 pandemic brought many challenges to our campus community, state, and country, and voting in the 2020 election was not left out as a point of concern. One of our main goals as Vote Everywhere ambassadors is to increase student voter turnout, so from the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, we were focused on how to energize students to get out to vote during such a bleak time. We continually reminded students how important it is to use this opportunity to make their voices heard. Young people are often told that our opinions and ideas are unimportant, but it is imperative that us young people show up at the polls to ensure that our voices are heard.
The 2020 election was important for many reasons. Nationally, we had the presidential election, and in Kentucky, one of our U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell, was up for reelection against Democratic nominee Amy McGrath. Due to the pandemic, many were worried about how safe it would be to vote in-person, which has been the norm for our state. The Kentucky Secretary of State, Michael G. Adams did an outstanding job to ensure voting safety during the pandemic, and expanded absentee and in-person early voting to be sure Kentuckians were able to feel safe casting their vote. Vote Everywhere was lucky to have Secretary Adams join us for a virtual Q+A event during our Civic Engagement Extravaganza week. During Civic Engagement Week, we also had our annual celebration for National Voter Registration Day, which was held on September 22nd, 2020. We partnered with S.C.O.R.E and RaiseRed to increase our outreach. UofL was even featured on MSNBC, as I was interviewed to talk about how our voter registration efforts have adapted to the pandemic.
After the monumental 2020 election, Vote Everywhere shifted our focus to issue-based events that focused on topics that sparked passion within us that we wanted to share with other students. In October, we hosted “Your Vote is Your Voice/Su Voto es Su Voz”, which focused on the impact of voting and the importance of being civically engaged, specifically as people from Black and Latinx communities. We closed out the Fall 2020 semester with a Get Out the Vote event the day before Election Day where we gave out “Cards Vote” masks and made sure students were ready to vote.
In Spring of 2021, we continued to put on events rooted in passion. We hosted “Let’s Talk About: Banning Conversion Therapy” in early February, where we educated students on the issue of conversion therapy being practiced in Kentucky, and how they can make their voices heard by their legislators on this issue. To end the semester on a high note, Vote Everywhere is hosting a giveaway on our Instagram @uoflve, where five student winners will be receiving fun and educational prizes, each focused on a different human rights issue: Voting Rights, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights, LGBTQ+ Rights, and Immigrant Rights. Vote Everywhere is proud of the work we’ve been able to do to increase civic engagement on our campus. We are excited to see where the 2021-2022 year will bring us!
Wyn Garfinkle - VoteEverywhere Lead Ambassador
Vote Everywhere is a civic engagement program that incorporates ambassadors on college campuses across the nation for the purpose of effecting positive social change through voter education & registration and community involvement.
Vote Everywhere Lead Ambassador: Wyn Plymesser
Vote Everywhere Ambassador: Arianna Moya Porras