Bernie Sanders visits UWL as part of the get the vote out campaign


Photo taken by Isabel Piarulli.

Isabel Piarulli, Student Government Reporter

Current Vermont U.S. Senator and former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined MoveOn and NextGen America organizations in a visit to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse the Friday before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

The event was part of the Our Future is Now tour, which included scheduled stops at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison in addition to UWL. The tour has made stops in many states to rally young voters to get out and vote for Democratic candidates on the ballot.

According to the Our Future is Now website, the youth vote can determine the outcome of the 2022 midterms. With so many issues that affect this generation on the line, including abortion access, student debt, and climate change, the aim of this tour was to energize students and young folks in key cities and states around the country to vote in the upcoming election and showcase the power of every vote.

“At NexGen, we don’t put our hope in any single one politician or party, we put our hope in ya’ll, in America’s young people,” said NexGen America President Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez. “Because every time our country has made a great leap forward it required the courage, the imagination, and the impatience of young people to make it so.”

With college students particularly in mind, the event focused on rounding up young voters to participate in the midterm elections and encouraging their friends to do so as well. “I want to see everybody vote. I want to see all the people vote. I want to see middle-aged people vote,” Senator Sanders said. “But the future of this country rests with young people.”

The most recent race for governor in 2018 was decided by just single-digit percentage points. Wisconsin saw the victory of Governor Tony Evers by the smallest of margins and polls suggest the races will be just as close this year.

“I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart, this is the most consequential midterm election in the modern history of this Country,” said Senator Sanders. “It could well be that your state of Wisconsin plays a very, very pivotal role in determining your future and the future of this country.”

The Tufts Institute put Wisconsin as the number one state that is affected by the youth vote in terms of the governor race and Wisconsin is ranked fifth in the U.S. senate race. According to Tufts Institute, this is due to the highly competitive nature of Wisconsin elections and policies that help increase young voter turnout.

In Wisconsin, both online voter registration and same-day registration are in place. Forty U.S. states and Washington D.C. allow for online voter registration and research suggests this increases the amount the 18-24-year-old demographic votes. Same-day voter registration is appealing to younger voters, particularly college students who tend to change addresses more frequently.