'What The Vote!' -- Idahoans volunteer to inspire more Gen Z and millennials to vote

Posted at 9:38 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 00:26:46-04

IDAHO — "What The Vote! Idaho” is a non-partisan volunteer project sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that aims to engage Idaho’s younger generations and inspire them to vote. And judging by their numbers, what they’re doing, is working.

"As grandmothers, we were very interested in our grandchildren -- and I think, every generation -- having whatever support we could give them beyond just saying ‘That’s a good job,'" said Nancy Viano, who started the local organization.

Viano and Chris Stokes were one of three volunteers who started the project by going to a couple Idaho high schools and registering more than 400 students in a matter of days. Since then, it has evolved to more than 100 volunteers registering roughly 5,100 young Idahoans to vote.

“When you talk to these kids, they just want to be able to discuss these things without the passion of the politics getting in the way," said Stokes.

Stokes said she and Viano are passionate about empowering young adults to take ownership of their lives and futures.

“It’s going to affect you your whole life," said Stokes.

She said at events like these, they’ve found that young voters care less about party affiliation and other labels.

“How moved we both were by these kids and their passion, and their issue-oriented passion, not politics, not party," said Stokes. “I can’t even begin, it’s still, every time we encounter kids, I get inspired all over again. These are intelligent people.”

Viano agreed.

“They would say things to us like, ‘Where can we go to have civil discussion?'"

The project has a search feature on their website that breaks down important info on the candidates and issues that young voters care about -- so they can feel empowered when they hit the polls.

“It’s non-partisan. We do not tell them who to vote for," said Viano.

To learn more about what the project can offer you or a young adult in your life, click here.

To register to vote in Idaho, click here.