Texas teens volunteer in historic Georgia Senate run off election

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As part of an internship, Pankati and Guda held a variety of responsibilities while volunteering in the run off election. “The volunteer work for this campaign was on behalf of a PAC, so a lot of it was recruiting volunteers for volunteer shifts and events so that they could call voters directly in Georgia to vote,” Guda said via text.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

The nation’s eyes are on Georgia as a special election for the state’s two Senate seats kicked off Tuesday. Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverand Raphael Warnock have been campaigning against Republican incumbents David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler for months, with each campaign raising over $100 million. 

The winner of the two seats will determine which party will hold a majority over the Senate, making this runoff one of the most important Senate races of the 2020 election. A rare amount of attention is being spent on a Senate election, with volunteers pouring out support from all over even outside of the peach state, including some Redhawks. 

Juniors Tarini Pankati and Anhikha Guda spent their winter breaks phone banking and volunteering virtually in order to help register and inform Georgia voters for Tuesday’s election. 

“I found out about how I could volunteer and make my voice heard for the Senate runoff in Georgia through a previous campaign I worked with,” Pankati said via text. “From mid-October to early November I interned with Lulu Seikaly’s campaign for our district, and it was such a great experience. A few weeks later, Lulu reached out to the other interns and me with the opportunity to volunteer for the Georgia run-offs through the organization remedypac created by Californian representative Eric Swalwell. It seemed like a great opportunity and I was eager to be part of a campaign again so I decided to get involved”

As part of an internship, Pankati and Guda held a variety of responsibilities in their volunteering. 

“The volunteer work for this campaign was on behalf of a PAC, so a lot of it was recruiting volunteers for volunteer shifts and events so that they could call voters directly in Georgia to vote,” Guda said via text. “This extended our reach and multiplied the number of voters we could target. I myself also had to do volunteer shifts and call voters. Other than that, there was spreadsheet work, event organizing, and daily news reports we had to do as interns.”

Pankati was inspired to volunteer on the campaign after watching the 2020 Presidential election and says she wanted to find ways to participate in the election even if she couldn’t vote. 

“Even though I’m not old enough to vote, I enjoy the work I’ve gotten to do as part of the campaign because it’s an opportunity for me to do my part and advocate for a brighter future,” Pankati said. “Working on campaigns and voter registration is something I’m passionate about because of how innately election results are tied to our own lives.”

For Guda, the work was about more than just a single election, but rather about an opportunity to fight for her beliefs in democracy and the country. 

“Since volunteering with another Texas General Election, I was really able to feel connected to political work and volunteering,” Guda said. “As a 16-year-old, I am not able to vote yet, but being able to do work in other ways that may influence the election is empowering. I also come from a family of immigrants and until recently, my parents could not vote, so it feels very gratifying to be able to fight for what I believe in my country and in my own unique way. It helps me more than anything because it helps to shape my identity and has also influenced what I want to do in the future.”