The Slatest

Parkland Students to Tour the Country to Encourage Young People to Vote

Parkland student activists at the 2018 Time 100 Gala.
Parkland student activists at the 2018 Time 100 Gala on April 24 in New York City. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The Parkland students, who have proved to be unusually good at spurring other teenagers to become politically engaged, announced on Monday that this summer they will be touring the country to encourage young people to vote.

The students plan to spend two months traveling the country, they said in a press conference. They plan to hold voter registration drives in 50 cities in 20 states, as well as every congressional district in Florida, with a particular focus on those they consider especially tainted by money from the National Rifle Association.

Since the March for Our Lives events in Washington and cities around the country, which urged young people to fight for gun control and vote out anti-regulation, NRA-backed politicians, student leaders of the movement have increasingly focused on encouraging young people to register to vote. The student activists, many of whom graduated on Sunday, have been active on social media and at various events and appearances encouraging groups to hold voter drives and demonstrate for gun control.

There’s evidence that the national movement led by the Parkland students is working. According to the New York Times, the data already show that there has been a spike in voter registration among young people in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. In the month of the March for Our Lives rallies, the number of registered voters younger than 25 in Florida—the state at the center of the movement—jumped from less than 20 percent of the new voters to nearly 30 percent, according to the Times. And in Broward County, Parkland’s county, more than 1,000 young people registered the week before the march, part of their jump that month from 16 percent to 46 percent of registered voters.

Some think the influx of new young voters, who lean Democratic, might make a difference in November elections. A new Harvard poll has found a recent jump in young people who say they think their political involvement can make a difference, according to the Times.