YOUTH VOTING ENGAGEMENT – Executing the Power of Their Voice

By: Tracey Morrison, Writer

Engaging young people in voting is difficult; describe Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston to the Exclusive Press (EP). In the Democratic Primary, older black women are the most powerful political group in the voting bloc. “I ran city-wide, during the general election, especially with my first election. It was older black women, combined with middle-aged, middle-class white women from different parts of town, who voted for me. I received support from folks I didn’t necessarily think I wouldn’t have strong support from,” said Winston to the EP.

When it comes to voter engagement among youth, Braxton emphasized the Carolina Panthers’ motto of “Keep Pounding,” sharing that systemic education is practical of what it means to be a citizen, which includes voting. Winston continues, “I don’t care what school system you attend. They’re not teaching you about municipal democracy. We learn about what’s happening in Washington. We think Washington DC’s decisions are more important than local government, even amongst voters who regularly vote in the Presidential Election.”

It’s about community knowledge. There’s something I have learned in these past five years. Voting, in general, is problematic. From a municipal standpoint, people need to learn about the power of their vote in the local government. They don’t know if the decisions made today, on a local level, will affect them tomorrow versus the decisions in Washington, DC. It’s usually how that money or those policies get interpreted on state and local levels. 

I believe in democracy and the need to understand how we all fit into it. Democracy doesn’t always need to be a political thing. We need to understand the democratic process structures and how it governs all parts of our lives – whether it’s how we learn the formation of our churches, labor unions, business, or corporations. 

“The smarter we get about democratic processes, I think people won’t be so honestly intimidated by participating in elections, or they will understand why it’s so necessary to vote in every single election,” shared Braxton with the EP.

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