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Millennials 'Souls To The Polls' Event Hits The Club To Engage Young Voters

Ivy Palm Beach.jpg
Amber Amortegui
/
WLRN
Souls to the Polls attendees lounge at Ivy Palm Beach night club on Sunday afternoon.

Faith in Florida, a division of Faith in Action, hosted several Souls to the Polls events across South Florida over the weekend. It’s a faith-based, grassroots organization that aims to educate communities about voting.

One of those events was specifically for millennials and young voters. At Ivy Palm Beach, a night club down the street from the Supervisor of Elections building, millennials enjoyed a Sunday brunch, music and hookah — and got some voter education.

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Hosting a voter engagement event at a club might not seem like a conventional location, but the organizers say it was intentional.

“[Young people] like to party,” said Rohan Sutherland, the founder of Flex Your Vote, a campaign that targets young people. “So the way to get them engaged more so is getting them in their environment where we have our DJs keep making announcements, ‘Hey, don’t forget to vote.’”

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Amber Amortegui
Rohan Sutherland, the founder of Flex Your Vote, standing under a voter information tent.

Sutherland says the organizers of Souls to the Polls asked him if Flex Your Vote wanted to partner with them to host some millennial events before the upcoming election. Sutherland reached out to Ivy, and they set up a Sunday brunch for participants. But his voting campaign goes beyond just throwing parties for millennials.

“It’s basically educating them,” Sutherland said. “Letting them know about policies, amendments, local elections procedures, and moving forward not just on a national base.”

Sutherland stressed the importance of teaching young adults about local politics rather than only focusing on the presidential race.

“When you go to pick your presidential candidate, look at the down-ballots,” Sutherland said. “Find out who’s running for city council. Find out who’s running possibly for state representative office. We want them to learn everything about the voting process.”

He added that all too often young people will say they’re Democrats or Republicans, but they vote without really understanding who they’re voting for.

“They don’t even know what they’re tied to,” Sutherland said. “We want to educate them and what they need to look for when voting. What benefits you? Are you pro-life? Not pro-life? Or are you for gun control? Not for gun control? Just to learn the policies first before choosing the candidate.”

Dyneshia Neal worked at the event on Sunday. She says some young people don’t understand that their vote could make a difference.

“Young people, first-time voters, 18 and up, get out and vote, get out and vote,” Neal said. “Don’t think that your voice isn’t important. Everybody’s voices count. The more, the better.”

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Amber Amortegui
Millennial voters helping themselves to a Sunday brunch at Ivy Palm Beach.

She also mentioned that millennials have a chance to represent themselves to create the changes they want to see.

“So far it’s always the older people, the older generation that’s always talking about voting,” Neal said. “Now it’s the millennials’ time to get out there and show like ‘Hey, it’s the millennials!’”

Flex Your Vote had a van that took about 10 people down the street to the Supervisor of Elections for early voting. Then they dropped them back off at Ivy to rejoin the party.

Everyone who attended the brunch had to maintain social distance and wear a mask. Souls to the Polls will hold more millennial events in South Florida this weekend.