Georgia high school students call on peers to register to vote ahead of Senate runoffs: "Why wouldn't you?"
In less than a month, two crucial runoff elections in Georgia will decide which political party controls the U.S. Senate. And a group of high school influencers in the state are determined to make a difference.
Edward Aguilar and three high school friends launched Students for Tomorrow back in September. They register young first-time voters, mostly college freshmen across the country.
"What's exciting to me, and what's really surprising to me is that so many people are getting behind that," Aguilar told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. "We've built our own text-banking software, our own phone-banking software, donor tracking, volunteer tracking, voter tracking."
And they've connected with three dozen grassroots organizations.
"It just blew up. Tons of people started posting about it," Aguilar said.
They estimate that they registered 65,000 new voters before the November election. "It's surreal," Aguilar said.
Of those new voters, about 18,000 were young voters just in Georgia. Joe Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes.
"Younger voters coming into the electorate right now just tend to be more ideologically liberal as compared to other age demographics," said University of Georgia professor Trey Hood.
Part of the group's pitch is good old-fashioned peer pressure.
"How can you be okay with this? Why wouldn't you want to use your voice to get out there and vote?" said Valerie Ponomarev, who turned 18 last week.
Georgia's getting ready to vote again on January 5 in two U.S. Senate runoff elections.
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is being challenged by Reverend Raphael Warnock. In a debate Sunday night, Loeffler kept her campaign message simple: she backs President Trump all the way, and she sidestepped when asked if the president won re-election. She called Warnock a radical liberal, while he described her as out of touch with Georgia voters.
In the other runoff, Republican Senator David Perdue didn't show up to a debate with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
The president campaigned for both Republican candidates Saturday night in Georgia, but spent most of his hour-and-a-half long speech complaining about his own election results. As Mr. Trump continued to pressure Georgia officials to help him overturn the results of the election, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan joined "CBS This Morning" on Monday saying, "It has been unbelievable to see the mountains of information continue to fly in from every angle. Literally, stuff that can be debunked in ten seconds or less. So, we're focused on following the letter of the law."
Since the November election, another 23,000 Georgians, mostly high school seniors, turned 18 and will be eligible to vote. Students for Tomorrow wants to register new voters like Michael Giusto.
"I gotta have some sort of input," Giusto said. "I gotta know what's going on."
"Our voice will be heard," Ponomarev told Strassmann.
Aguilar can't vote because he's still 17, but that's not stopping him from using his voice.
"I can still have my own civic duty. I can still go out there and get other people to vote. I can still get people interested in politics, get them to mobilize," Aguilar said. "Just because we can't vote, doesn't mean we can't get other people to do it."
Monday is the deadline to register new voters in time for Georgia's January runoffs.
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