On January 21, 2017, thousands of students marched on Washington as a part of the historic Women's March. On March 14, 2018, thousands of students walked out of their classrooms to advocate for gun reform policies and call attention to the lives lost in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On April 20, 2018, thousands of students participated in the National School Walkout.
On Tuesday, thousands of students are expected to walk out of their classrooms once again.
The Walkout to Vote is set to take place on November 6 at 10 a.m. and is expected to draw thousands of students. Organized by the Future Coalition, a network of over 20 youth-led organizations across the country, the Walkout to Vote is encouraging students to walk out of their classes and walk to the polls to vote in the midterm elections.
Select schools have taken steps towards making voting easier. For instance, several school districts in Oklahoma and North Carolina are closed for election day. Some colleges, like the University of Montana, have cancelled classes in order to help students get to the polls. In many cases, polls are open at 7 a.m., theoretically giving students enough time to vote before classes begin.
But according to organizers, the walkout is about more than just voter turnout.
"In addition to ensuring young people show up to the polls in record numbers, the goal of Walkout to Vote is to send a message to politicians the country that young people are unified in our demand for change and united across issues, organizations and communities," Katie Eder, founder of the Future Coalition, tells CNBC Make It.
Eder, 19, graduated from high school in June and is taking a gap year to "focus on changing the country" before attending Stanford.
This latest demonstration is indicative of the heightened political participation of young people today. A survey of over 2,000 people from the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics found that an unprecedented 40 percent of Americans under the age of 30 say they will definitely vote in the upcoming elections, signaling a record turnout for this year's midterms.
Among these young people, Harvard found that just 26 percent approve of President Donald Trump, while 39 percent support democratic socialism, 56 percent support a federal jobs guarantee and 56 percent support free community college and free four-year college for students from families that make less than $125,000 per year.
Daphne Frias, a 20-year-old SUNY student and organizer of the New York City Walkout to Vote, tells CNBC Make It that political activism is a unifying force among young people.
"For this generation, it has been hard not to become disillusioned with the state of our country and its politics," Frias says over email. "Most of us are coming of age in a time of a political sensory overload, but that does not stop us from realizing that we are unhappy with the way our country is going. We've marched and we've rallied and that made people listen."
Frias is optimistic about the walkout's potential turnout, and moving forward, organizers hope that the event will set a new standard for youth political participation.
"Walkout to Vote is only the beginning," says Eder. "Young people have found our voices and we've discovered the power of what happens when we come together for one common goal. The change is only going to continue from here."
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