Transcript for Learning from 2016, young activists organize and mobilize their peers to vote
Reporter: It's 50 degrees right outside of philly, and it is nasty out. But a little bit of bad weather wasn't going to stop Cameron Davis and her grandmother from celebrating the 20-year-old's birthday. So what are we doing to celebrate? I'm going to vote. How do you feel? You feel excited? I'm ready to get it. I'm excited. Reporter: Spending your birthday at a polling location may not seem like the coolest way to celebrate. But for millions of young people this , voting is actually hip thing to do. Look at me. I'm doing my civic duty. Reporter: This election, something's in the air. From celebrities like snoop Dogg -- Your voter registration is now cleat. Reporter: To Tyler the creator admitting that this will be their first time votin A lot of y'all are going to be like, ahh, my vote doesn't matter, they're going to pick who they want. Reporter: Not to mention AOC gaming to get out the vote to the tune of nearly 500,000 viewers. You can call me AOC, Mike pence can call me AOC. Reporter: Organizations both grass roots and national driving young people to the polls both literally and figuratively. Hosting covid-safe block parties and engaging in social media, ic art, even streetwear. With more than 6 million young PEOP already voting in this year's election, is this the year the youth vote finally shows up? Just voted. Reporter: Either way, it's clear that now more than ever, it's not cool to not care How important do you think the youth vote is in this year's election? Because the youth vote is usually so low, a lot of enthusiasm from young voters can make a really big difference. And I think the difference could be especially big in a couple of key swing states. Reporter: "Nightline" traveled to three battleground states to look at how and why young people across the country are hoping to move the needle on November 3rd. We did it! I know! Reporter: Back in Pennsylvania, Cameron and her grandmother are teaching me a vote dance she made up to celebrate her ballot. For almost 20 years, Cameron's home state has gone to the Democrats. Until trump flipped the state red in 2016. While fivethirtyeight's election forecast has Joe Biden favored at the moment, voters like Cameron, who have been concerned with the president's handling of the pandemic and racial justice, aren't taking their vote for granted. You think there's a lot at stake? There is a lot. I don't believe that we will progress as a country, as a nation, if we continue to go in the direction that we're going. And with the president that we're going with. Reporter: For Cameron, the power of social media has made the act of voting that much more vote It's limited to do things in person right now. I wanted to get people's attention about voting, but make it fun. As long as it catches their attention, they're going to listen to the message that's One, two, three! Reporter: The influence of tiktok and Instagram on this year's election is something that organizations small and large are banking on to drive up registration numbers. Early voting's open in Atlanta. At the urban league's pull up to the polls event, it's part policy and part, well, party. 24-year-old community organizer Julius Thomas is just one of the many who help put this together. This is the election of a lifetime. This is so important to get young people excited and energized to vote and find new and creative ways. Keep people engaged. Reporter: His home state of Georgia is changing largely due to shifting demographics of Atlanta and its surrounding area. The state has been solidly Republican for almost 25 years. But Hillary Clinton's performance in 2016 surprised everyone. Now fivethirtyeight's got the peach state as a true toss-up. I think it's important to say for our forecast that it's not a crystal but yeah, Georgia's very close rignow. After the passing of John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, this city does not want their work to go in vain. We want to show them we're ready to torch and we' doing it in a cool, fun, exciting, hip way that only Atlanta can do. Reporter: Focused on getting first-time voters registered and to the lllls. At 25, he's voting in his first presidential election. I was too young when Obama was in there the last time, then the next time, I was kind of discouraged. So I didn't vote. So this is my first time to What's going through your mind as you're about to vote for the first time? I'm excited. Reporter: In any given lex, 35% to 60% of eligible voters don't V young people are big part of the problem. Fivethirtyeight's Amelia thompson-devoe has been studying what keeps people from the polls. A lot of people we talked to may have been eligible in 2016, but for whatever reason, just decided not to vote. Now they're not only registering early, they're voting early. Why do you think that is? Sometimes it's a sense that politics just isn't worth it, that they don't think it matters, they didn't like the candidates. Sometimes it's kind of a mix of the two. So I think what we're seeing this year is that people really think it's important to vote. Reporter: For Marcus, it took the outcome of the 2016 race for him to wake up. After 2016, did you feel guilty for not having voted at all? Definitely. Because it's people that can't vote, people that aren't O enough, they can't vote, and I can vote and I'm not voting. What does it mean to you to see your communities get activated? Both being a person of color and being a young person? It means a lot. Because it's setting a good example for the younger generation. So we don't get discouraged again to not vote and feel our vote doesn't count. We did it. It went well. Quick, easy. How do you feel? I feel good. Feels good? You got the sticker. Reporter: 300 miles away, the race in the tar heel state is heating up. We're driving through north Carolina right now. Political scientists are calling this the swingiest of swing states. On top of the presidential election, a Republican senator and democratic governor both fighting for re-election. This is the definition of a purple state in 2020. 24-year-old Republican and aspiring politician Katherine Whitebird I working hard to people the president and her party in office. I hope you consider voting for representative John Hardester. We've done 500,000 contacts to try to make sure not only do we win the presidency but down ballot, because down ballot is also important. Reporter: She's canvassing for her friend, state rep John Hardester, outside the polls. What's your plan? Talking to the voters, trying to convince them to vote for him and the Republican ticket. Reporter: Cautious optimism is the name of the game for Republicans in North Carolina. Trump took the state in 2016. But this time, fivethirtyeight has Biden ahead, but just I think in North Carolina and in states across the country, we're seeing people really concerned about the pandemic and about the economy, just the state of the world right W. And trump has not gotten good marks on his handling of the pandemic in particular. It's a real weak spot for him. How do you think president trump has handled the pandemic? I think that under the circumstances, they D D to handle it as best they could. We see that Biden is trying to propose a lot of what trump has already been doing. You're first generation chinese-american. Does it bother you, some of the rhetoric that's come across about the virus from the Republican party and president trump? Kung flu, China virus? There have been increasing attas on people of Asian descent since corirus has impacted this country. Does that bother you at all? I can't really speak to Chinese people being targeted per se, just because I haven't personally seen that. But as far as calling it the China virus, I mean, from all that we know currently, it probably did come from China. And they didn't handle it well. And they were probably trying to suppress a lot of information. I think that it's fair to call it the China virus. I don't personally feel insulted by it. How about Kung through? That I'm not as comfortable with. But, I mean, the China virus is a fair statement. Reporter: A week before election day and Catherine couldn't be busier. But she was kind enough to take a break from her day to try a Greensboro institution, yum yum's. Talk to me about this place. There's a lot going on leading up to November 3rd. It is a swingy swing state. I think a lot of people have said North Carolina is a red state. I don't think that's true. Especially we've seen in 2018, that wasn't true. But I think there's still the opportunity for Republicans to win in North Carolina. Do you worry the state could flip this year? I'm definitely worried about it. But I'm trying to do everything that I can to make sure that doesn't happen. This is absolutely delicious. This is why I got the cup. I knew what I was doing. I'm not making a mess eating ice cream. Reporter: It's no the candidates are noticing the energy coming from young people this year. Here's how you can spot a Reporter: Both trump -- He absolutely has an issue with the truth. Reporter: And Biden appealing to the youth vote with goofy ads and memes across social media and YouTube. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, or if you don't sit on one at all. Whether you've done it before or if it's your first time. This November 3rd, the choice is What issues are most important to you in this year's election? I want to see how our president's handled the race relations in this country and the seriousness of this pandemic. It's not a matter of do you want Biden or trump? It's a matter of, do you want socialism or do you want a free society? I Fike there's a lot of people who feel like me. Do you think now, in 2020, in the middle of a racial reckoning in this country, in the middle of a pandemic in this country, that it's cool to actually vote? Yes. I believe it's actually been cool to vote. Do you think your vote matters? Yes. Why? My vote matters. It has the power to sway elections. It also has the power to influence a bunch of other people to make their voices I can post about it, I can dance while I'm doing it, I can tell the world that I'm doing it. Look at me, I'm voting.
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