Every Vote Counts, a national nonpartisan organization dedicated to tackling systemic problems in the United States’ voting system, is opening its very first chapter at Yale.
Frustrated by the state of voting in the United States, Marc Feigen, started the initiative last month to tackle voter suppression and gerrymandering. Feigen, CEO of Feigen Advisors, a firm that advises CEOs of other companies on business decisions, wrote a long opinion piece on these issues last December, following Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. Sophia Krohn ’20, the external affairs officer for Yale’s Every Vote Counts chapter, said the University approved the nascent club’s status just over a week ago.
“Our goal is essentially to make voting more common,” Krohn said. “Basically, to have more people vote, and to have the people that do vote better represent the demographics of the populus.”
The student-run chapter aims to realize these goals through three channels—civic engagement, voter engagement and legislative policy. To promote civic engagement, she said club members will hopefully go to New Haven schools and talk to students about the ways they can engage with democracy.
Alex McGrath ’21, who serves as the legislative director of the Yale chapter of Every Vote Counts, shed some light on how he and other Every Vote Counts members plan to impact legislative policy.
“We plan to advocate for fair, transparent, and equitable voting systems in New Haven, in Connecticut, and hopefully nationwide,” he said.
The Yale chapter hopes to work with the Connecticut State legislators to act against problems like voter suppression laws.
But this hands-on action will not take place until later this year, as the organization is still in its early stages. Krohn said she and her fellow Every Vote Counts members are currently focusing on researching the circumstances voters face in the United States to provide a groundwork for later action.
Being the first of potentially hundreds of university chapters, Every Vote Counts at Yale hopes to be a blueprint for how Every Vote Counts is run on other campuses.
“If this organization were to move to California, a school there could use the research that we have, to help them come up with policy recommendations for their state,” Krohn explained.
Over the next two years, the organization hopes to open chapters at 300 campuses across the United States.
The national organization has two national chairs, each representing a different political party: one republican and one democratic chair. Krohn believes that this foundation allows a more sustainable model for the organization.
According to Krohn, there has been a lot of student interest in the club so far, especially from first-years.
“I think that many people do feel that their democracy isn’t representing them, and this is especially true for young people,” she said. “We want to take these frustrations and channel that energy into something productive.”
Because the issues in our voting system are present in the minds of many campus political organizations, Krohn said Yale’s Every Vote Counts chapter plans to collaborate with parties within the Yale Political Union to accomplish its goals.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, Oct. 5: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted McGrath as saying the Yale chapter hopes to act against voter suppression laws. In fact, the statement was made by Krohn.