Three young women with #Fight4HER signs and one older white man in a suit

“Nine hours into canvassing, a man thanked me and another volunteer for being the foot soldiers of democracy. Braving rain, wind, cold air, and irritated voters, we paved the way for Senator Brown and other champions of reproductive rights to represent us in DC,” said Sarah Szilagy, a #Fight4HER volunteer and freshman OSU student who campaigned for Sherrod Brown.

WE made the difference.

As early voting indicated, young voters helped shape the midterm results in Ohio and beyond. Across the nation, nearly 1 in 3 young people voted this year, compared to fewer than 1 in 5 in 2014 according to estimates from Civic Youth. Population Connection Action Fund’s #Fight4HER volunteer network logged over 13,000 volunteer GOTV hours and contacted over 8,200 voters in the last FOUR days before the election alone.

In Ohio, most of our volunteers were first-time volunteers, first-time voters, and first-time activists. 129 people strong, they were energized to make a difference and fight for women’s reproductive rights around the world. The primary aim of the #Fight4HER campaign is to end Trump’s deadly Global Gag Rule on U.S. funding for reproductive healthcare in developing countries, and that means turning out the vote for reproductive rights champions like Senator Brown.

Leading up to the election, OSU students like Szilagy completed nearly 250 hours of GOTV canvassing. Some students spent as many as 36 hours in the last four days canvassing voters between classes and despite mounting exams and homework. The excitement, energy, and commitment I saw from our volunteers is unparalleled. These young volunteers engaged 1,700 voters, an unthinkable number compared to past years of getting out the vote in midterm elections. 

The results are in and the numbers are clear. Access to reproductive healthcare is a bellwether issue for young voters. Data shows that young, first-time voters and activists with the #Fight4HER campaign helped build the groundswell and get out the vote among college students and their peers to support candidates with a strong track record on this issue, like Sherrod Brown.

As Szilagy reflects, “There’s nothing quite like being on the front lines of an election. Even after suffering through exhaustion and sickness, if I could influence even one more voter’s decision, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

We are the foot soldiers of the here, the now, and the future. WE make the difference.