A California billionaire who’s been financing voter registration efforts in Iowa since 2014 will hold a “town hall meeting” here next week.
“We are running, in this year, the largest youth voter mobilization campaign in American history,” said Tom Steyer, the founder of the “NextGen” organization.
The group is targeting voters under the age of 35. These so-called “millennials” vote at half the rate of older voters.
“What we’re trying to do is engage them on the issues, to get them to understand how important their voice is and how important their vote is,” Steyer said in August, “so they’ll participate at a much higher rate the way other American citizens do.”
Steyer’s “Need to Vote” Town Hall in Des Moines Tuesday night is open to the public, but a spokeswoman for Steyer said it’s targeted to students.
Steyer’s group has nearly five dozen paid staff in Iowa registering millennial voters. The group claims to have already registered more than 10,000 young people to vote since February. Steyer’s “NextGen” staff have deployed to 32 Iowa campuses, including 10 community colleges as well as the three state universities and private colleges.
Steyer also has spent some of his fortune on advertising calling for impeachment proceedings against the president. His “Need to Impeach” campaign has held more than 30 town hall meetings around the country, including two in Iowa this summer.
“So if we can actually double the participation of people under the age of 35 and get our list to show up, which we believe we can, we can have a huge victory on November 6, 2018,” Steyer said. “But nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
Steyer made his comments during a speech last month at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. According to Steyer, the “Need to Impeach” group he launched a year ago now has contact information for more than 5.6 million Americans, only a third of whom typically vote in non-presidential elections.