I hope y’all have all had a nice week! This one signified a small change in my independent study. I feel like I’ve gotten the most out of online research that I can–information about COVID outreach, typical young voter strategies, those in past elections, and even more. Now, I would like to spend the remainder of my study continuing volunteer work, staying updated on current events, and talking to experts in the political field as well my own community. I’m going to achieve this by both interviewing my local representatives and professors at the universities near me! I also want to interview a diverse range of people in my personal life on their voting choices and motivations. Let me fill you in on what I did this week to bring these goals to fruition.
Firstly, I contacted my local representatives! When I met with my study advisors, Mrs. Bessias and Mr. Klein, they mentioned how I should reach out to my reps on the local scale. In doing so, they predicted that I would get faster and more substantive responses. So, this week, I reached out to my NC House rep, Rep. Vernetta Alston, and my state senator, Sen. Natalie Murdock, to try to get interviews with them. If I succeed, I want to ask them about how they’re fighting as down-ballot office holders to get people to turn out down the ballot. I also reached out to two professors of public policy at Duke University who have studied young voters to see if I could interview them about strategies for increasing voter turnout. Fingers crossed that I hear back from them!
Later this week, I started planning my new mini project on why people in my community vote! Basically, the idea came from a conversation I had with Mrs. Bessias. We talked about how it would be interesting if I talked to people I know about the most basic questions (why do they vote, etc.) and see what commonalities I find between them. I really liked that idea and felt that it would provide a human touch to my statistics-based research. So, I’ve compiled a list of people I know across ages, races, ethnicities, socio-economic levels, and genders to get perspectives from different types of people. The three questions I’m going to ask everyone are: 1) When did you first vote? 2) What motivates you to vote? 3) How do you decide who to vote for in local elections? I’ll let y’all know what happens!