Students Demand Action, Everytown Launch Iowa Virtual Field Office Focused on Registering Young Voters— Mobilizing People Where They are During Pandemic
The Program Will be Driven by Iowa Students Demand Action Volunteers Using Virtual Tools to Register People in Their Online Networks
Iowa Students Demand Action Volunteers are Available for Interviews
DES MOINES, Iowa. — Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown”) and Students Demand Action, a part of Everytown, announced the launch of Iowa’s new Students Demand Action Virtual Field Office, focused on registering young voters virtually. Last week, Everytown and Students Demand Action announced a $1.5 million program to register 100,000 young voters, with a focus on key battleground states, including Iowa.
With the launch of Iowa’s virtual field office, Students Demand Action volunteers will register thousands of voters, work to get out the vote, and engage young people in gun violence prevention campaigns, all from home while practicing social distancing. Volunteers will collaborate on various online platforms, such as Zoom, Slack, and more, and will be trained in relational organizing — an innovative way to engage existing social networks to have meaningful conversations in order to talk about the importance of voting, how to register, and why their vote matters.
“We cannot let one public health crisis keep us from addressing another one. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, gun violence prevention is still a top priority,” said Grace Johnson, a volunteer with the Iowa State University chapter of Students Demand Action. “Our generation has grown up seeing the devastation of gun violence in our schools, homes, and communities. But not anymore. In 2020, we’re ready to reclaim our safety by registering young voters, increasing voter turnout, and electing gun sense candidates up and down the ballot.”
Everytown is committing at least $1.5 million to the voter registration program, which will include more than a dozen paid organizers who will help lead efforts across battleground states. When it’s safe to organize in-person, organizers will continue with in-person voter registration efforts on college campuses, where they will recruit new Students Demand Action volunteers and train volunteers in effective voter registration tools and tactics.
Gun violence prevention consistently ranks as a top issue for young voters, and in Iowa, a recent survey from Everytown, found that voters in Iowa support stronger gun safety laws by a 3:1 margin and 75% of voters consider a candidate’s position on guns “very important” to their vote in 2020.
Students Demand Action’s voter registration initiative will include:
- Investing $1.5 million, including hiring at least a dozen paid organizers focused on registering voters in key battleground states;
- Establishing virtual field offices, where students will gather to strategize how to meet voter registration goals. Virtual field offices will have access to cutting edge organizing tools and technology, including Zoom, Slack, Icebreaker, Hustle, and more, giving volunteers the tools they need to be successful in virtual voter registration efforts;
- Extensive training in relational organizing, which involves leveraging relationships to encourage others to vote. This organizing method has been proven to be more effective than traditional canvassing, allowing volunteers to register their friends, family, classmates, and acquaintances. Students Demand Action volunteers will deploy this tactic digitally, while continuing to practice physical distancing;
- Targeted online voter registration ads geared toward young people.