As the midterm election nears, political groups are ramping up efforts to get the vote out — specifically among the youth. Among them is a group of Stanford University students, artists, filmmakers and coders who are driving one simple message to voters born between 1981 and 1996: “You have power.”
Hack the Election, designed by the ad agency Odysseus Arms, the Environmental Defense Fund and a group of Stanford students, cross-references an IP address with candidates on a user’s local ballot to discern who is supporting clean energy. The site highlights President Barack Obama’s clean power plan, which will entail the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposing limits on how much carbon dioxide (CO2) companies may produce, which can include up to 44 percent of CO2 released in the United States.
“People say they don’t vote because they don’t know who to vote for? But you’ve got the name,” the site reads, after providing name(s) of candidates who are supporting environmental policy. In order to receive the correct information, a user must be in his or her home district.
Politicians are eager to turn out the millennial population for the midterm election, but a recent Harvard University public opinion poll indicated that the number of millennials planning to vote in this election has dropped, with less than 25 percent who said they would “definitely be voting.”
Still, millennials are incredibly supportive of environmental movement. Earlier this year, a Pew Research Center poll found that people under 30 are more inclined to back alternative energy sources, while another Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll found that 85 percent of millennials said they supported the clean power plan.
“We call this stuff that we do one-click activism,” says Franklin Tipton, co-developer for Hack the Election. “It’s not that people are lazy; it’s just how the world works.”
The site is just one of the many efforts to entice millennial voters through an environmental lens, which includes Patagonia’s “Vote the Environment” campaign, an initiative that encourages artists to design environmental posters and screenprints, raising money for both the artist and voting advocacy group HeadCount. The outfitter is also featuring voter information as well as candidates who support environmental polices on its site.