What do we think about when we think about the future? It’s always been more of an aspiration than an inevitability; in the future, my mom will say, please lock the door if you’re going to leave the house. Or, in the future just call me before you decide to foster six dogs and two small geriatric cats. We both know I’m probably not going to do these things, but we also both want to believe in a world where I could do them: a better world. The idea of the future is flexible. It allows us to create room for hope and optimism, for a sense that the best in ourselves and others is yet to come.
Nowhere is that more important than in our democracy. Without hope, democracy can’t function, and at HeadCount we’re trying to connect with and inspire future generations to become active voters and participants in the democratic system. HeadCount’s website provides great information on early registration options, and our volunteers are working on registering new voters with worldwide stars like Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish, both of whom have tons of young people in their massive fanbases. 2018 already saw about a 50% increase in youth voter turnout in Midterms, and at Bonnaroo in June 2019, HeadCount set a new personal record for voters registered. By connecting with these people early in their lives in places they feel comfortable, HeadCount is trying to ensure not only that #TheFutureIsVoting, but that the Future cares!
I’ve volunteered at many shows for HeadCount. David Bryne’s “American Utopia” on Broadway, for example, attracts an older audience, many of whom are already registered and vocal in their support for democratic participation. Even more surprising are the young people I’ve encountered at indie rock and pop shows: not only are they aware of their ability to register and their obligation to vote when they can, but the importance of voting seems to be ingrained in them. Almost every group of young people I encountered at these shows had one or two members who were quick to speak up about the importance of voting and eager to introduce their friends to our volunteers. HeadCount is helping to bring our youth culture even further in this direction of awareness and activism!