When you think of Forward Montana Foundation, what comes to mind? Voter registration, of course. For years now we’ve made it our business to make sure every single millennial in the state of Montana gets registered to vote. With the primaries behind us, it’s time to dive right back onto the streets, clipboards in hand, sunscreen on our faces, and fanny packs around our waists.

But why do we do it? Why do volunteers, interns, and staff brave the heat and forest fire smoke, while missing river floats and ball games in order to register voters over the summer? You probably already know what our volunteers do– voter registration matters. Voter registration is the gateway drug to becoming a life-time voter. It’s the first step in making a difference in our country– seeing what needs changed and knowing you have the power to do it. Millennials are the largest U.S. generation in history– if 18-35 year-olds voted every time, we would decide every single election. But first, we need to get registered.

While I’m proud of all of our woke, power-building volunteers, I think the real reason we spend our summer registering voters is because it’s a blast! 

Have you ever had the experience of registering an 18 year old to vote for the first time over coffee at the farmers market?

Or helped a formerly incarcerated person take back their power and service to our community by being the first person to tell them, “Yes, you can and should register to vote.”

Or got in a mini-van with a group of your friends to take a road trip for a mass voter registration effort at a music festival? Yes– you get the benefit of free music tickets AND positive voting vibes.

2018 is an important year, and young people know that. We have a goal of registering  thousands of people to vote this summer. However, our lean-mean civic engagement team can’t do it alone. That’s why I’m asking you to commit to volunteering with your local Forward office–not just because this work is essential to making our democracy function, but because it’s the most fun you’ll have doing something that actually matters.

Reach out to your local FMT Field Manager.

Michael Nelson, Billings Field Manager