PRSSA Officer and President of the Temple Young Democrats, Christina Borst, led the Temple Young Democrats chapter to a $1,000 prize from Vote That Jawn for the “Most Creative Campaign”. Vote that Jawn is a student competition to bring 18-year-olds and other first time voters to the polls. Their goal is for full participation in 2020 — not just for a charismatic candidate, but to advocate for youth safety, agency, and inclusion.
The challenge was how to get the word out about voting, in a creative and innovative way. For the project, there were written materials — but Christina explained it came down to guerrilla tactics; “We were registering people on the subway. People will do anything they can to avoid registering to vote. We would follow them to their stops and get off or mail them information so they can’t say that they don’t have time to register to vote.”
Judges praised the Temple Young Democrat’s submission: “Lots of groups have great ideas, some long-standing and carried out by professional administrators. Temple College Democrats used all their connections to reach, well, everyone they could reach. They recruited new voters on campus, threw a political shindig, used local subway stops to talk to their non-college neighbors, and used volunteer assignments, one at Planned Parenthood, as a chance to talk to young, unregistered voters. What’s so creative about this? They moved through their slice of America, unafraid to talk to people with different resumes. In a segmented country, that’s social creativity.”
Christina Borst worked on Vote that Jawn for PROWL, but says the Temple Young Democrats have been doing this work since the presidential election. The team of 8 students talked to young people about ballot literacy and hosted a voter registration workshop. The workshop taught students to help others register to vote and gave young people the resources to connect with other students interested in politics. The team utilized relational voter programming, which is about how to use your personal networks to encourage others to vote. “Sometimes when you’re so involved with it, you forget about the people around you and to encourage them to be as civically engaged as possible.”
“Politically speaking, we need to open up the voters pool a lot more.” Christina implored young adults to vote, “18–24 is the biggest voting block but they’re the ones that vote the least. We’re inheriting the country. When we speak out now we’re influencing the future. Take agency over their country and take every opportunity to do that.” In the end, the Temple Young Democrats achieved the goal of “Vote that Jawn”: to help youth claim their fundamental right to vote. Congratulations Christina and your team who worked tirelessly on this campaign.