It is week 34 of our new reality and tomorrow, Nov. 3, will be the first election day in a country that has changed dramatically over just a few short months.

We will be closing all 50CAN offices for the day so that all members of our team have the time to vote, serve as poll workers and help others fully participate in this historic election.

Over the past seven months in the New Reality Roundup, we’ve sought to shine a spotlight on the new needs of students and to advocate for the bold funding and measurement policies that are necessary to meet those needs. We’ve also celebrated the teachers who are overcoming challenges to help their students thrive, alongside examples of students who are exercising their leadership to build a better world.

Today, with our collective focus on a historic election, the Roundup will be scaled down to focus on what most inspires us, an example of student leadership called the Poll Hero Project. 50CAN’s Senior Vice President Jonathan Nikkila wrote last year in The 50CAN Guide to Political Advocacy, our democracy only works when enough of us are willing to get involved at every level. By doing so “you join a long and noble tradition of those who came before you who helped uplift the human condition.” That is exactly what the student leaders at the Poll Hero Project are doing.

When we return to regular content in our next edition, we’ll take stock of the results from this election and continue our work to put education policies at the center of the work of our communities and the nation. We draw inspiration from the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which are as true today as they were when they were first spoken 82 years ago in the fall of 1938, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

“Around the country, young people are stepping up to fill the places of older, longtime poll workers who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and need to sit out this election,” reports Beth Hawkins for The 74 Million. The Poll Hero Project, which was created by students to help fellow students staff polling locations, recently announced they’ve recruited 35,000 poll workers. “Officials credit the youth organizers behind the movement with helping to keep polling places open so Americans can vote.”

Marc Porter Magee Ph.D is the CEO and founder of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.


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