Hi, my name is Julia Guarnaccia and I am a junior currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award.
My project, Turn Out the Vote, focuses on increasing the voter turnout in young people. In past elections, turnout in voters ages 18-25 was significantly lower than the other age groups. Seeing as this past election is likely the most important election to happen during my lifetime, I wanted to involve myself as much as I could to increase turnout and empower young voters.
The main part of my project was educating others and sharing information about the election to young people on the Instagram account I created. I felt it was crucial during such an unprecedented election that a reliable source of information was necessary for people to even consider voting. The process can be confusing in a normal year, so I took it upon myself to make everything clear cut and simple for people who may not know what to do when election season rolls around.
My instagram was a place where I shared graphics that I had created. I would share reminders of deadlines, information about local polling places, and their rights as a voter. I also compiled links to various websites where you can register to vote, read about candidates, check your registration status, and request an absentee ballot to name a few.
While I was posting, I was also volunteering in my community. I spent a total of 10 hours volunteering at Bergen Community College checking absentee ballots for matching signatures. I would scan the ballot, pull up the person’s voting record, and check to see if the signature on the ballot matched with the signature in the system. If they weren’t similar, I would put them aside for review. Those that passed the test were sent onto the next step in the process. I also volunteered with the Glen Rock chapter of the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization empowering women to vote. I spent an afternoon with one of their members helping register people to vote.
The final part of my project must have a sustainable impact on my community. I approached Mr. Occhino early in March with the hopes of bringing my project to Northern Highlands and lending my knowledge and experience to benefit the students at Northern Highlands. We decided that a page in the school website would be a great addition to the resources Northern Highlands offers to students when the time comes for them to vote. Here, I have compiled everything I’ve learned from my research all into one spot for you to use. My wish is that my project will help make the voting process less daunting and empower you to go out and make your voice heard in your community.