The #WhyIVote is more than a hashtag, it’s a platform that has allowed young voters on UT’s campus to share why they vote, and encourage morale among their peers to head to the polls this election season.
“A lot of times we’re told, ‘get out and go vote, from our families and our friends,'” Mustafa Ali-Smith, president of the University of Tennessee’s NAACP chapter said, but “this narrative can be a bit demeaning and assertive.”
Ali-Smith believes the narrative surrounding voting, should not be intimidating, but rather something that should be celebrated.
“We need to parade to the polls, and make voting a celebration,” Ali-Smith said. “Let’s have a good time while we get out and vote.”
Ali-Smith collaborated with several minority populations on the University of Tennessee’s campus to create a #WhyIVote video to encourage others to get out and rock the vote.
From racial and ethnic minorities, to LGBTQ and other marginalized identities, Ali-Smith said it’s important to vote people into office that care about the same things young voters care about.
In this years, mid-term elections, Knox County saw a starling three percent of voters between the ages of 18-24, according to an analysis from the Knox County Election Committee. Ali-Smith hopes young voters in this age group, will continue to change the narrative of voting and show up in higher numbers in this year’s midterm elections.