Ballot Box 101: How to get first-time voters to the polls 

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Secretary of State Steve Simon and two young organizers working to inform and encourage new voters to participate in democracy.

Getting people who’ve never voted to vote for the first time presents a special kind of challenge.

Young people who recently reached voting age don’t have the habit and may not understand the system or their potential impact. Marginalized communities may feel disenfranchised. Whatever the obstacles, it’s important to know how to overcome them.

Angela Davis hosts a special In Focus discussion that took place live at MPR News on Wednesday, Oct. 19, with a panel of voting experts. They tackle the most common questions new voters ask. They also talk about how to make voting more accessible to new Americans and share how Minnesota’s colleges and universities are getting students registered to vote.


  • Secretary of State Steve Simon oversees elections in Minnesota.

  • Ali Tomashek is the president of Lead-MN, an organization that advocates for the 100,000 two-year college students in Minnesota.

  • Ryan Pérez is a political campaign manager at COPAL, a grassroots statewide organization whose mission is to unite Latinos in Minnesota.

Four people sit and talk
MPR News host Angela Davis talked with Secretary of State Steve Simon, LeadMN president Ali Tomashek and COPAL political campaign manager Ryan Pérez for October's In Focus discussion about encouraging first-time voters.
Tom Campbell | MPR News

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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