An alumna stands in front of a gray house with a clipboard

Simone Archer-Krauss ’19 on Harnessing the Power of Young Voters in Elections

February 11, 2020

Today is primary day in New Hampshire.

After months of debates, town halls, and news articles scrutinizing each candidate, New Hampshire residents will be the second state in the nation to determine their choice for the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2020 elections.

For Simone Archer-Krauss ’19 and her team at NextGen America, a voter advocacy organization, today isn’t about the candidatesit’s about the power of young people to shape the future. 

In the weeks leading up to the New Hampshire primary, Archer-Krauss has done everything from ordering pens and paper for canvassing events to organizing rides for college-age voters. The goal? Engage, educate, and empower young voters, making it as easy as possible for them to get to the polls and speak out on issues they care about the most at the ballot box. The organization estimates they have knocked on over 12,000 doors, and pledged almost 10,000 young people to vote in the presidential primary. 

She also wants to make sure young people understand why they should exercise their right to vote: “We are the largest voting bloc in the country...We have the power to decide elections if we turned out at the rate of people over 65 years old.”

Archer-Krauss took a few hours off from overseeing NextGen’s statewide voter participation effort to join volunteers to canvass the neighborhoods of Manchester. Between knocking on doors and dodging snow flurries, she explained the impact of grassroots advocacy work on voter turnout and what she’s learned about herself, and the power of young people, by talking to strangers.



A woman stands in front of a purple wall with the outline of the state of NH in blue tape

Archer-Krauss and her team work with local colleges and universities to make it easier for students to vote. They arrange rides to and from the polls on Election Day and create networks of student volunteers who connect with voters throughout the year.

a woman looks down at a series of clipboards on a table. behind her a table reads, nextgen america

Before hitting the streets, Archer-Krauss works with a fellow NextGen staff member to assemble packets for canvassing volunteers, which include voter pledge cards, a list of houses to visit, and a map of the turf they will cover. Canvassers use an app to track their progress and learn more about the voters they are contacting.

A woman walks down a snowy street in front of a gray house

Each canvassing shift usually lasts about two hours, Archer-Krauss says. Volunteers then return to headquarters to grab another packet and more snacks before heading back out to a different neighborhood.

An alumna stands in front of a gray house with a clipboard

“This is really about our future,” Archer-Krauss said as she left her last house on this shift. “I really encourage Wellesley students to volunteer, to register to vote, to convince all their friends to vote and show up at the polls. November is going to be a big election.”