The Bronx Young Democrats have spent the last few months holding registration drives, debate watching parties and reaching out to community leaders in an effort to get young people excited about the presidential election and vote on Election Day.
"We are getting really strong vibes from the young people and the young adults here in our borough. We're doing a lot to get the word out," said John Zaccaro, 23, president of the Bronx Young Democrats. "There's a greater urgency now to understanding how the election will affect young people, college students and jobs."
The group has held voter registration drives at Lehman College and Fordham University, and also hosted a debate-watching party for the first presidential debate at the Bronx Democratic Committee Headquarters.
Zellmor Myrie, 25, a Bronx Young Democrats board member, said getting the word out to young people is especially important. "Some of the language we were hearing earlier in the summer and during the convention was that there was an enthusiasm gap, especially in our young people, because the election is not as new and exciting as it was in 2008," he said. "Some of that may be true in some places, but in the Bronx the young people are excited to register to vote for the first time."
The Bronx Young Democrats has members throughout the entire borough. They engage in activism on both the national and community level, promoting the issues that are pertinent to young people. They recently hosted a forum on gun violence, and included community members across all age ranges to talk about the issues. "It's not just about politics," Zaccaro said.
Part of the outreach is to encourage young people to register to vote who didn't vote in the last election. "Eight million people who couldn't vote in the last election are now able to vote," Zaccaro said. "We'll see some new people and new energy in the borough this time around."
The group will be operating phone banks until the day of the election, where they will make hundreds of calls to voters and encourage people to vote on Election Day. The group will also hold an election night watching party at Beso Lounge at 320 Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx from 9 p.m. until the polls close.