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Coalition aims to increase percentage of young voters

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The formation of the nonpartisan Jax Young Voters Coalition was announced Thursday on the Southbank Riverwalk by Friendship Fountain.

Meredith O'Malley Johnson founded the all-volunteer coalition. The coalition consists of a group of young professionals who are from a wide range of backgrounds, industries, neighborhoods and political party affiliations who share a common bond -- their love for Jacksonville and determination to make it a better place.

"Together, we have decided that we have a responsibility to define hat our generation's legacy will be for our city," Johnson said.

Their goal is to increase the turnout among voters ages 18 to 40 by at least five percent in the upcoming city elections, compared to turnout in 2011.

The 2011 city election turnouts for 18 to 40-year-olds were 13.5 percent for the unitary first election and 19.7 percent for the unitary general election, according to the Duval County of Elections office. In order to reach their goal, a turnout of 18.5 percent for the unitary first election on March 24 and 24.7 percent for the unitary general election must be achieved. The founder thinks the election results will make a big impact on the community.

"The results of our upcoming city elections will determine whether we will have leaders who plan to truly invest in our city to make it even better, or leaders who are content with maintaining a culture of mediocrity and sustaining the status quo," Johnson said.

The coalition will use tactics such as hosting collaborative events, engaging and informative marketing, and social media campaigns to endorse like-minded City Council candidates and outreach efforts. A team of designers lead by Jax Young Voters Coalition Creative Director Karen Kurycki will be using strategic and visionary design to excite young voters.

The Jax Young Voters Coalition has formed a political committee to fundraise for its marketing and event costs. The coalition also announced the kickoff of an online crowd-funding campaign to raise an initial $7,500.

To view the campaign visit www.rockethub.com.

The coalition's first event, Ballots and Brews, is scheduled for Feb. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Institution Ale Works. Jacksonville City Council candidates are invited to attend. There will also be food trucks and live local music on site. For more details visit ballotsandbrews.com.

For more information on the coalition visit JaxYoungVoters.com