Gretchen Coleman Hopes to Change Voter Apathy in Youth
Honors junior, Gretchen Coleman ’22 never backs down from a challenge. So, when the 2021 Truman Scholarship finalist recognized that young voters consistently turn out in lower numbers than older generations, she founded Ballot Z, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to broadening youth voting in her home state of Illinois.
Coleman is a dual major in political philosophy and political science, spanning the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She says her studies, combined with Ballot Z and the possibility of a Truman Scholarship—the nation’s premier award for those pursuing public service leadership—will help prepare her for a career in election reform. “Many young people don’t vote because they don’t realize how easy it is to do,” says the Chicago native, who launched Ballot Z last spring. “I’ve consolidated election information into a single website, providing a one-stop shop for voting in Illinois.”