By Dora Betts
When Sari Kaufman, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior, became one of the lead organizers of March for Our Lives in 2018, she was fascinated by the lack of education among voters that she had witnessed at the march itself.
“One of my lead roles was to be in charge of voter registration. I saw that many voters were not educated and did not even know that midterm elections were coming up,” Kaufman said.
After the march, she became involved in voter registration efforts when she connected with Duke Professor David McAdams, who also desired a change in voter education and elections. They established the MyVote Project (MVP), which essentially provides an accessible and simple overview of local, state, and national candidates and policies. It also allows voters to easily visit the project’s website, register to vote, and become educated on who is running in their area.
MVP is currently preparing for the presidential primaries scheduled for the summer. It is in the expansion and research phase, in which its team is working to improve the website and interface, as well as add more content relating to candidates and policies.
“That is why during quarantine, we started reaching out to students across the country on social media to help us build information about their local and state candidates,” said Kaufman.
She eventually became connected to Manheim Township student Sophie Yost, the current PA state director for MVP.
“It’s kind of funny because when I first called Sari I made it very clear I didn’t want to do outreach. I didn’t think I knew enough people that cared about politics. I eventually decided to post about [MVP] on my Instagram story and email a lot of teachers. The number of volunteers that ended up joining my team was amazing, and from then on, I decided I would do outreach,” said Yost.
More than 30 volunteers in PA have been recruited out of the 100+ volunteers across the country in states such as FL, NJ, NC, and CA. Through social media, the team has been able to grow immensely. To continue to support the ever-growing project, Kaufman and her team are striving towards raising money to be able to continue updating the website and acquire more professional coders. They have raised over 2,000 dollars on their established GoFundMe page, in which they hope to increase.
Yost aspires to increase the PA chapter of MyVote to span the entire state. Her goal is to facilitate the process of voting for all of those who can participate in it.
“Everyone deserves a chance to vote for the change they want to see in the world,” she said.
As for Kaufman, she hopes for thousands of users of the MVP website come election day.
“We want to encourage people to not just make their voting decisions based on party lines or who the first person is on their list for county judge. With MyVote, we truly believe that we can help ensure that Americans are electing more competent leaders and realize the impact of their vote.
“The website is truly revolutionizing the way people view politics, and I think it will be extremely helpful for voters this upcoming election,” said Yost.
If you would like to change the way that people vote and think about politics, consider joining the MyVote team through the link attached: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdVf76uJ8DJf3q3Qco4BC_ED1mfoCQDMuZr-q5K55g7RD5y_g/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1.
To donate, visit their GoFundMe page: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/myvoteproject2020.