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Boise teens create 'Babe Vote' initiative to help register thousands of young voters

"The goal of 'Babe Vote' is to make voting sexy, and to make voting really cool."

BOISE, Idaho — Millennials and Gen Z make up a larger share of eligible voters than Baby Boomers, but historically, they fail to show up at the polls.

In Boise, a group of Gen-Z teens is taking it upon themselves to get more of their peers involved in the 2020 presidential election through an initiative called 'Babe Vote,' a non-profit, non-partisan voter registration initiative targeting young people. 

Shiva Rajbhandari is a 16-year-old sophomore at Boise High and one of the voices behind 'Babe Vote.' He has single-handedly registered more than 400 people to vote through the initiative.

"It's not because we're not politically involved.  Young people are the most politically involved generation," Rajbhandari said. "But when it comes to voting, they just don't get excited about it. The goal of 'Babe Vote' is to make voting sexy, and to make voting really cool."

'Babe Vote' is a play on words of 'Babe Don't,' something Rajbhandari and his friends say before doing something really cool.

"It ended up just really taking off and really being popular because it's so simple, the branding is so simple, and also it's kind of edgy and kind of catchy," he said. "What's really powerful is that I can register other people to vote, and be a poll worker, and I can drive other people to the polls, and I can knock on doors, and I can get people out there." 

To date, Rajbhandari and his team of 70 volunteers have already registered 2,000 young voters.

"I've been passionate about politics for a long time, but I feel like this is a place where I can make a difference," he said. "When young people turn out to vote, it sends a message to everyone that hey we're important, we matter and we care."

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