3 Ways Teens Can Make a Major Impact This Election Day

Written on 10/15/2020
Volunteer New York!

Election Day falls on November 3 this year. If you're an American citizen (or you meet your state's residency requirements) and you're at least 18 years of age, you're legally allowed to vote. But what about teens who are underaged and still want to stay involved somehow? Here are three ways:

1. Get Hype

Budding activists too young to cast a ballot can still spread the word about Election Day. According to YEA (Youth Empowered Action) Camp, a summer camp for youth who want to impact social change, kids and teens alike can help their neighbors get registered, intern or volunteer for a campaign, and even use their social media and communications skills to raise awareness and funds for a campaign or organization.

2. Work the Polls

Teens as young as 17 from participating school districts can also lend a hand at the polls in New York State. This is especially crucial in 2020, when many poll workers—who are typically seniors and are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19—are opting to stay at home. Fewer poll workers means fewer people to man the polling places, which often causes them to have to shut down (or risk excruciatingly long lines). An added bonus? Poll work is a paid gig! Do right by democracy and make a little cash at the same time? Yes, please.

3. Pre-Register to Vote

Even though you can't cast a ballot until you're 18, teens who are 16 and 17 can now pre-register to vote in New York State. This new law, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed in January 2020, permits 16 and 17-year-olds to legally fill out the state's electronic voter registration application (or visit their local Board of Elections office in person) and be on the rolls come their 18th birthday. This means no extra trips or registering to vote once you turn 18—you’re automatically registered and able to vote. The deadline to register for the 2020 election was October 9, but teens can pre-register for the future election at any time.

Remember: you're never too young to have a voice and to make positive change in your community!

Share Your Story

Are you participating in Election Day this year? Whether you're pre-registering, writing letters, or working the polls, we want to know! Share your ideas, photos, and videos here to help inspire others to take action and do their part for democracy.