Ben Brandzel / MoveOn's Student Mobilizer

Ben Brandzel
Over 20 million young people voted in the 2004 presidential elections, the highest turn out since the voting age was lowered to 18. Much of the credit goes to the passionate efforts of youth organizers like Ben Brandzel. “Nobody is an island as a student. The collective, networked life of college campuses puts students in a powerful position to get involved in politics,” Brandzel says.

Brandzel founded MoveOn Student Action in August of 2004 to register and turn out youth for the November elections. The initiative was a huge success, involving 230,000 students on 2,300 campuses in all 50 states.

MoveOn Student Action's success is rooted in Brandzel's recognition of the Internet as a powerful organizing and fund-raising tool. Their College Click Drive “Race to a Million” subsidized progressive ads in key states as students competed for their campuses, raising matching funds each time they participated in an online advocacy campaign. The project also promoted innovative get-out-the-vote programs, like Trick-or-Vote, a Halloween campaign to spread the word about voting locations.

Elle McPherson is an intern at YES!