Mimicking a key tactic of the National Rifle Association,supporters of gun regulations are seeking to mobilize young voters in this year’s midterm elections.
Gun control advocates are hosting voter drives at high schools and colleges, including during widespread school walkouts last Friday, the anniversary of the 1999 massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School. They are setting up voter-registration tables at gun control marches and are working to galvanize the nation’s youngest voters around a single issue, the Washington Post reports. The push started after the Parkland, Fl., shooting and was evident at last month’s March for Our Lives rallies, where volunteers at numerous events, including one in New York, roamed around with clipboards asking people to register to vote. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of respondents say students across the country holding rallies to call for stricter gun laws represent a lasting movement.
“Who here is going to vote in the 2018 election?” David Hogg, a Parkland survivor, asked at last month’s rally in Washington, D.C. “We are going to make this a voting issue. We’re going to take this to every election, to every state, to every city.” NextGen America, a liberal advocacy group founded by hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, and gun-control advocacy groups Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety have announced an initiative aimed at getting 50,000 teenagers registered to vote ahead of the midterm elections in November. The drive will focus on young voters in 10 swing states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Each state has candidates who are supported by the National Rifle Association on the ballot. The gun-control advocacy groups are trying to catch up with the NRA, which puts tremendous effort into elections. The group and its Institute for Legislative Action spend millions of dollars on campaign contributions, lobbying, political spending and getting its membership to vote.