I’ve always hated politics, so when my best friends started trying to convince me to repurpose our PPE routing algorithm into a vote tracker, I naturally thought it was just a waste of time. But when I started hearing about the mass migration of out-of-state college students who began heading home from their now closed universities, I started to realize that they had a point: there’s about 5 million out of state college students in the US, and most of them are now going to states that they haven’t lived in for years. In the middle of this major transition, were they even going to vote? What I realized then, is that it didn’t just matter if they were going to vote, but where. Based on the electoral college and the competitiveness of certain states (what we refer to as ‘battlegrounds’), where you vote has a massive impact on our elections- but for most people, they never have a choice.
The reason I bring this up is because college students, unlike most of us, have the choice of where they vote. Armed with something known as duel residency, I realized that those students could choose to vote either in their university state or the state of their home. When I realized this, I immediately started thinking about the potential implications on the 2020 election: what if those 5 million students voted in battleground states instead of the always-blue or always-red states that they may have moved from? They would have the power to single-handedly determine the election.
It was then that I reached out to my best friends, Sahan Reddy, Jordan Umusu, and Michael Giusto- to help me start building this: a platform that would, using what was once a PPE routing algorithm, determine the most powerful place a student could vote based on the probably that their vote would flip the election. After a few marketing failures early on, we started gaining traction on college group-chats and email chains: soon, just days after putting the software online, we had thousands of users- and as a byproduct, voters.
Fast forward three weeks after our original launch and we had registered an estimated 65,000 out-of-state college students to vote in the nearing Presidential Election. From that group, nearly 48,000 flipped their votes to battlegrounds; 14,000, for example, flipped their vote to GA- a state that was decided by just 0.1% of the vote. Now, almost two months since we founded StudentsFor2020, we’ve rebranded to Students For Tomorrrow, registered thousands more for Georgia’s 2021 Runoffs, and are using our funding to educate and include students about the political world around us.
I, as well as my co-founders, are immensely excited about the future of this organization, and what we’ll be able to achieve with y’all behind us.
Edward Aguilar (CEO & Founder)