Gamers.Vote is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation devoted to providing support and resources to gamers — a massive segment of potential voters in the U.S.
In a world where information (and misinformation) comes at citizens from every direction, Gamers.Vote CEO Christie St. Martin is determined to arm gamers with the knowledge they need to make up their own minds.
“It’s recently become considered partisan to say ‘go vote’ but it’s not,” St. Martin told Esports Insider. “But it’s safe territory and we’re hoping that we’ll see a larger amount of participation over the next four years as we get past that point.”
According to data from Pew Research Center, half of all adults in the U.S. game. That makes roughly 131 million gamers eligible to vote. And yet, Gamers.Vote says that only 19 percent of people aged 19-29 voted in the 2016 presidential election.
Gamers.Vote partners with a variety of brands ranging from esports organisations like FaZe and T1 to broadcasters Comcast NBC Universal and VENN. St. Martin describes participation as being ‘very kumbaya’ in that any, and every, way to help raise voting awareness is welcome.
Partners can do as little as share a social media post or go as far as to host tentpole events. For example, Champion Clothing made a Gamers.Vote patch for its gaming hoodie and VENN hosted a celebrity-filled broadcast in partnership with MTV that ended in a charity Fall Guys tournament.
“To be a partner for Gamers.Vote, we never ask for donations,” said St. Martin. “We’re never going to have some kind of bar of entry. If we’re funded, it’s by good people who believe in what we’re doing through education and making sure democracy is intact.”
One requirement, however, is that partners remain as non-partisan as possible in their activations.
“The reason we have the partners we have is that they also don’t want to tell people how to vote,” she added. “I hope the [VENN broadcast] sets a standard of how we can package voting materials without slamming it down peoples’ throats. It’s just part of an enjoying broadcast.
“We just do our best to make sure people are really prepared and also understand that there are certain ways to talk about it. Like, ‘I’m a voter because I care about this’ without getting into person or party.”
If a potential partner wants to host an event, they go through a vetting process. Then, Gamers.Vote sends them a broadcast kit that includes the ‘dos and don’ts’ of how to speak from a non-partisan perspective.
“Of course, we cannot control what the streamers specifically can or cannot say, we just encourage that it stay non-partisan,” explained St. Martin.
As election day comes and goes, Gamers.Vote will continue to provide support and information to help gamers and their loved ones make informed decisions. The Presidential Election takes centre stage in the public conscious, but St. Martin hopes to improve communities by getting more citizens engaged on local levels, too.
“If you polled people, how many would know who their mayor is or their police chief,” she commented, noting that our parents most likely had a better grasp on local happening because of the newspaper. “Now we get our information from all directions and it’s opinion — so do people even know what’s happening?”
Gamers.Vote offers a free streaming kit, including a Twitch extension that enables viewers to register to vote without leaving the channel. Initiatives will continue beyond election day and anyone who wants to get involved can contact Gamers.Vote through the official website.