In the annals of American politics, Ohio has long been a bellwether state – one whose voting trends in Presidential elections have represented the leanings of the country’s overall electorate. Since 1896, the Buckeye State has only deviated from the choosing the winner twice – and currently has the longest perfect streak. Ohio has also historically been a hotbed of student political activism, with the Kent State shootings in 1970 becoming a focal point of a nation deeply divided by the Vietnam War.
All of which makes Ohio State University the perfect setting for the inaugural WeVote® Democracy Week in September 2020, just over 2 months before the 2020 election. The first of many events set to take place on key college campuses across the country, WeVote® For America is a real world extension of WeVote®, a groundbreaking online platform designed to give every citizen insider access to their government, along with the power to change it. It eliminates the main barrier to entry for most people to participate in their public institutions in a meaningful way. The site encourages health debate, allowing voters to come together in a safe space to build consensus on legislation, media and ongoing issues facing our country. A secure validation system ensures that every user is a real person and registered voter.
The WeVote® Weekend events are designed like town hall meetings, where important local and national issues are discussed by the people attending live while potentially thousands of others participate via streaming using digital technologies. The live events will feature a series of guest speakers and issue/policy specialized panels, while those participating online can be part of regional breakout discussions that happen throughout the day. These WeVote® for America events, a prime example of “democracy powered by technology,” are designed to show people how to use the platform to begin their involvement in the political process immediately.
In the afternoon, there will be various smaller non-partisan discussions, dedicated to issues specific to local, regional and state concerns, including measures that will appear on the Ohio ballot in November. There will be four (or more) workshops, or tracks, dedicated to different issues on the ballot, using music and film to punctuate speeches and discussions. The idea is to encourage thoughtful analyses and exchanges about today’s crucial issues and how they affect the lives of the state’s citizens. Saturday will conclude with a live concert and rally in the evening. Sunday will be a full day of activism, also open to all who want to participate in the ongoing tracks and discussions therein – Democrats, Republicans, third party members, political independents and those with no party affiliation. All WeVote® Weekends are organized by volunteers and political activists from across the political spectrum – the majority of which are college students and millennials.