Voices Behind The Vote: Mall Employee Urges Millennials To Vote
Voters aged 18 to 35 usually have the country’s lowest turnout rate at the polls. But Tracy Chamberlin,a young manager for G by GUESS in the Coronado Center,has made it her goal to get her peers more involved in politics.
Chamberlin has been in retail for more than a decade. She said her current job usually entails ensuring that all of the day's tasks are getting completed, that scheduling is going well, and, right now, getting rid of the summer clothes in preparation for winter.
"I like '90s style, but that’s because I grew up in the '90s. I was a kid in the '90s. I liked it," she said. "I was born in 1988, so I’m 30. Probably my oldest employee is about 25 or 26, but I’m definitely the oldest, for sure."
She said she's registered to vote and has taken steps to make sure all of her nearly two-dozen employees are too.
"I’ve talked to them extensively about it. I don’t try to push my political views on people, but I do try to make sure that they understand that their voice is heard and that their voice matters," she said.
She's even willing to come into work to cover their shifts on Election Day if they need to go vote.
"I actually do like a whole thing on Election Day," she said. "I get up really early and I have my coffee and I like to go down and be with everybody. It’s something that makes me feel like I get to do my civic duty, and vote with all these other people who are also showing up to vote. It makes me feel important."
Chamberlin knows that people her age don't usually go out to vote as often as older folks, and she said it really bothers her.
"[Voting] is really important, especially because we’re going to be inheriting this government and this political climate from the people that are older. So I think it’s important that you start shaping your voice as soon as you get it and it bothers me that people my age and people in my age grouping don’t turn out because it’s theirs," she said. "This is their job, it’s their country, it’s their government. And even if they feel like it doesn’t affect them, it eventually will. Laws that are being passed right now will affect us later."
The fact that all 70 seats in New Mexico's House of Representatives and the gubernatorial office are up for election adds more urgency to Chamberlin's efforts.
"It’s really cool because New Mexico is actually up for quite a bit of offices. These seats are not part of the electoral college, this is all popular vote," she said. "So it’s important to show up, it’s important that your voice is heard."
If people don't want to vote, Chamberlin said she can't change that. But she does have hope.
"I’m very vocal about the political climate we’re in currently and I’m unhappy where we are," she said. "I feel like we’re better. People are better. Humans are better."
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.