Nicole Yearwood promotes civic engagement
Alumna is founder and CEO of Educated Voter
When Nicole Yearwood ’97, MPA ’98, first came to Binghamton University, she was interested in a computer science career. After New York’s governor threatened to cut funding for the Tuition Assistance Program, she became an activist and a new career path emerged.
As founder and CEO of Educated Voter, Yearwood is helping people understand how government functions. At last fall’s Homecoming TIER Talks, she said people can have more of a voice if they cut two bad habits: only voting in presidential or midterm elections, and tossing their U.S. census forms.
“There are about 16 elected officials who represent you,” Yearwood says. “If you only vote for president, that’s one out of 16. And, if you only voted for one and you didn’t vote for the people they have to work with to get laws passed, there are pieces of the puzzle that are missing. If you’re from New York City, and the last time you voted was in the 2020 presidential election, you could’ve possibly missed five elections.
“Redistricting is based on the Census. People ask me how they can get involved with the process because all the activity seems to happen without them. I tell them they can get in on that redistricting process by simply completing their census.”
She also encouraged the audience to testify at public hearings and attend their elected officials’ town-hall meetings.
“Advocacy is important. Too many of us are thinking: ‘I voted and I’m done. I’m going back to my corner. I don’t have anything else to do.’ You must advocate for the things you want. Elected officials don’t know it all, and they don’t get it right all the time. And that’s when they need to hear from us.”