CIRCLE releases report on youth civic engagement ahead of midterm

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Leadership and Engagement at Tisch College recently released a report detailing practical recommendations for institutions and communities seeking to promote youth electoral engagement.

The reporttitled “Growing Voters: Building Institutions and Community Ecosystems for Equitable Electoral Participation,” was first released at a live event in Washington, DC, ahead of the full online launch on June 14. His exit comes as the nation prepares for the 2022 midterm elections in November.

In an effort to bridge the disparities in civic engagement among America’s young population, the report targets a variety of stakeholders, including educators, policymakers, community organizers, and journalists.

He argues that the dominant model used by institutions to promote youth electoral participation is flawed, noting the wide disparities in young people’s access to civic learning and engagement that are created when resources only target young people. “probable voters”. These efforts also tend to only engage young people for short periods of time, mainly around elections.

The idea of ​​”Growing Voters” was born four years ago and the period of study and research on youth participation in civic engagement lasted for months.

“It was definitely a months-long process of thinking, ‘Who are these different institutions, who are these stakeholders?’ said Alberto Medina, Head of Communications Team at CIRCLE. “What conclusions do we have that are relevant to organizations in these areas, and then what recommendations can we make based on this data that will be truly relevant and actionable by these institutions, so that they can begin to transform their work? “

Surveys conducted by CIRCLE reveal that civic engagement is linked to race, socioeconomic status, education and other identifiers that disadvantage some. The report also notes that a significant portion of young Americans live in “civic deserts,” a term coined by CIRCLE director Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg to describe places where young people are deprived of civic education and resources. . Most of the so-called civic deserts are rural, according to Medina. CIRCLE believes that by focusing on “access and exposure, support and culture,” in the words of the report, these disparities can be dismantled.

“We are calling on institutions within local communities to come together to support youth engagement,” said Ruby Belle Booth (A’21), CIRCLE Elections Coordinator.

“I think that’s one of the ways we can imagine helping more young people get involved in our democracy,” Booth explained. “And so we try… [to] suggest a new model where young people will have many entry points and places to learn about civic opportunities and ways to engage. So you don’t just hear about it at school, but you’re also contacted by local organizations, and campaigns reach out to you, and your parents help you find opportunities to get involved.

The report’s goals are long-term, as it focuses on a demographic that is largely not yet eligible to vote.

“It offers a kind of avenue for people who do the work around the midterm elections to think about how they can more effectively engage young people and not just young people who already vote or are already predisposed to vote, but all young people,” Booth said.

Medina also commented on how the report is working to build a civically engaged constituency that will last.

“We’re really focused on long-term systemic changes that will [last] well beyond this electoral cycle,” he stressed.

CIRCLE hopes that the changes suggested by the report will help to empower disadvantaged young people civically, which in turn will help push for policies and laws that support them.