“Get Out the Vote” Spotlight – MaryPIRG

We believe that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. Together young people have the power to elect the next generation of leaders who will fight for our shared vision of the future, but only if we vote.  

MaryPIRG New Voters Project

MaryPIRG is Maryland’s own Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). PIRGs are a federation of non-profit organizations that emphasize grassroots organizing and direct advocacy as a way to create progressive political change. The first PIRGs were founded on college campuses in the 1970s. MaryPIRG has been active at the University of Maryland since 1973. In addition to the student chapter at UMD, MaryPIRG also has offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. 

One of MaryPIRG’s biggest campaigns is their “Democracy” campaign. The “Democracy” campaign focuses on expanding voter access and diminishing the effect of special interest money in elections. It also pushes for state and local legislation that creates publicly funded elections programs, automatic voter registration, and election day registration. The “Democracy” campaign also works to register students to vote through the New Voters Project, which helps students register to vote ahead of primary or general elections at UMD.

On display in the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America are photographs and ephemera highlighting MaryPIRG’s efforts at UMD to increase voter registration and engagement.

At the heart of the Special Collections & University Archives exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America are advocates and grassroots organizations who have fought for expanding the right to vote. Their individual and collective voices have driven major changes to American voting rights, moving the nation closer to the ideal of “one person, one vote.”

Visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America or explore the exhibit online.

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