Getting young people to actively involve themselves in politics can be tricky business.
However, one teen has found an innovative way to get more people signed on to the electoral register, and it turns out the answer is fried chicken.
People all over the US have been queuing up to try the new Popeyes chicken sandwich, with lines of people snaking all the way out of drive-thru lines and into busy roads.
Stephanie Sneed, a local school board candidate in North Carolina, decided to use the opportunity to sign young people up to vote and educate residents on local elections, thanks to the help of a strong team including two teens and another adult.
Sneed told Insider:
There’s a lot of people [at Popeyes] and they’re waiting.
I thought we should go out there and register the people to vote. If they’re already registered, hand out the sample ballots, remind people that early voting is going on now, and just have direct engagement with the community.
She revealed there’s currently early voting for a local election in Charlotte, however voter turnout is predicted to be low. Sneed said people were ‘really receptive’ to her and her team of volunteers who made their way through the queue of people waiting to try the highly coveted chicken sandwich.
While Sneed didn’t have a numerical target of how many people she wished to sign up, one of her volunteers, 17-year-old David Ledbetter, told the publication he’d registered between 12 and 16 people in just a couple of hours outside Popeyes.
Although he is too young to vote himself, Ledbetter said he’s passionate about engaging his community, adding that the queue waiting outside Popeyes seemed to be the perfect opportunity to do so.
He told Insider:
I’m real big on especially young people going out and getting involved in local politics. I think that’s the best way to engage in the community.
Sneed explained the importance of voter turnout, particularly with this upcoming election.
Only a few people are deciding who are our elected officials.
The projected turnout is based on the numbers that we’ve had so far, the projected turnout for our local election, our primaries, is eight per cent or less. So only a handful of people are deciding our elected officials that impact your daily life.
Imagine a world where voters were given free chicken sandwiches just for turning out in elections. Now that would be good incentive.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.