Mayoral candidates won't be the only folks walking around with clipboards in Chicago this weekend. In eight high-density wards flush with young people, the Progressive Alliance-Cook County (PA-CC) will send 150 volunteers out into the streets Saturday to register potential voters and promote participation in the upcoming midterm elections.
PA-CC is a new and diverse group of political professionals, non-profit staffers, and financial operators who are trying to build what steering committee co-chair Karlo Marcelo called a "generational alliance" of progressive voices in northern Illinois. This weekend's drive is their first coordinated event, one they hope will both drum up support for the group and interest in the November races. They've set a goal of making contacts with 5,000 people and adding 1,000 new registrants to the voting rolls. GOTV follow-ups are also in the works.
Democrats in Illinois need young people to turn out in six weeks if they have any chance of holding ground. Yet very few of the local campaigns PA-CC has talked to have any staffers dedicated to youth and student outreach. "There's really nobody doing what we're doing right now," says Maceo Brown, another steering committee member. "There's a vacuum here." More broadly, Brown hopes PA-CC can engage left-leaning Chicagoans in the political process. "What do we want out of our politics for the next 20 years?" he asked.