I’ve been voting ever since I can remember. My parents stressed the importance of voting in both my sister and me by taking us to vote with them. I remember waiting in line to watch my parents cast their ballots at the old church down the street from where we lived. That simple action by my parents is one of the reasons I am at FairVote today.
When I was in high school, I was drawn even more into the voting realm. I took an Advanced Placement Government class my senior year of high school. One day, we were discussing the rate at which different age groups cast ballots. I learned that young voters (between the ages of 18 and 24) cast ballots at a very low rate. That made absolutely no sense to me, since young voters are the group who most recently became eligible to vote.
At the University of Tennessee, I sought to figure out why young voters were not turning out to vote. I joined programs at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to answer the question of low young voter turnout. First, I joined the Baker Ambassador program. As a member of this program I registered students to vote and worked with the Knox County Election Commission to make the Baker Center a polling location on UT’s campus to give students the opportunity to vote on campus. I joined the Baker Scholar program in an attempt to see if voter identification laws were disenfranchising young voters.
I took my passion for voting and young voter turnout one step further and obtained an internship with the Shelby County Election Commission in my hometown of Memphis, TN. I worked on many different projects, including registering Shelby County residents to vote and working on precinct consolidation with the Administrator of Elections. I discovered a lot through this internship--most importantly that I loved seeing the behind the scenes of the voting process. I want to eventually work as an Administrator of Elections on the county level.
I came to FairVote to broaden my understanding of the electoral process and to help election administrators understand the important work being done at FairVote. Alongside that, I am excited to work with people who are just as interested in the election process as I am. I cannot wait to spend all day discussing electoral reform and aiding in the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting across the United States.