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Y'all-itics: How Gen Z is Disrupting Politics

Young political activists learn how to motivate their peers and begin harnessing the power of the elusive youth vote.

TEXAS, USA — They have growing political power and they know it. So do savvy politicians. And one of the main political groups motivating Gen Z voters to use their voice in politics is Voters of Tomorrow.

“We have people on the ground in 50 states right now.  We have volunteers.  And we have chapter presences in 25 states,” Jack Lobel said on Inside Texas Politics.  “We have the most at stake here in our future and that’s why Voters of Tomorrow was founded in the first place, so we can harness this youth political power that we have.”

Jack Lobel is the group’s Deputy Communications Director.  He himself is only 18, a college freshman who voted for the first time during the midterms.

Lobel says young voters are the best way to reach other young voters because they’ve all grown up together under unique circumstances, giving them unique perspectives.  

“We know what it's like to fear for our lives in a school. And we know what it's like to be growing up in an environment that is already facing a climate crisis. We know what it's like to grow up and go to school in a pandemic. These are experiences that have changed our generation and it allows us to connect with our peers on a level like no one else can,” he told us.

When it comes to connecting with Gen Z voters, Lobel says the outreach must be sustained.  And it comes in several different forms, from social media to visits to college campuses.  Voters of Tomorrow sent six million text messages leading up the last election, for instance.

And it has paid off.  

Gen Z voters have significantly influenced elections for three cycles in a row. And in 2022, young voters helped prevent a predicted Republican “Red Wave.”  27% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 – 29 showed up to cast a ballot and they overwhelmingly backed Democrats, by a nearly 30-point margin.

But Lobel is quick to point out that Voters of Tomorrow is a non-partisan organization.  And he says young voters aren’t as nearly concerned with political parties as they are with finding politicians looking out for their interests.

“We're not picking sides based on who's a Democrat or who's a Republican,” he told us.  “We're picking sides based on who's fighting for our future, who's fighting for a Gen Z agenda.”

But he says for many young voters, the cultural rhetoric coming from the political right is often a signal to them that those politicians do not trust young people. And some Republicans have even responded to Gen Z’s growing political power by suggesting the legal voting age in the U.S. be raised to 21. 

“Things like that are signals to me that they're scared of young people voting in these numbers.  And there's really no reason why it should be 21 years old.  Why not make it 40 years old? Why not make it 50 years old so that it's only that block voting? Young people should have a say as much as anyone,” Lobel said.

Despite their recent successes, Lobel says there’s still plenty for Voters of Tomorrow and young voters to do to already start preparing for 2024.  That includes the latest on their efforts to start a Young Americans Advisory Council with the White House.  Listen to this latest episode of Y’all-itics to learn more. Cheers!

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