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Gun control group associated with Giffords mailing birthday voting forms to teens

April 13, 2018 GMT

WASHINGTON — A coalition of gun control and progressive millennial outreach groups will be mailing teenagers a present for their 18th birthday: a voter registration form.

The coalition is targeting vulnerable pro-gun Republicans in 10 states with the Our Lives, Our Vote drive and hopes to register 50,000 18- and 19-year-olds through the initiative ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

States where teens can expect a birthday voting package include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“America’s children took to the streets and led marches with a unified message that rang out across the country: we need a Congress that will protect us,” former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said in a statement Thursday.

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Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, a retired Navy captain and former astronaut, co-founded a lobbying group and PAC in Giffords’ name that supports candidates and policies promoting more gun control. Giffords was shot and nearly killed in 2011 at a constituent event in Arizona.

She is joined in the effort by Everytown for Gun Safety, a partnership of more than 1,000 current and former mayors in the U.S., and NextGen America, a liberal group funded by billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer that is focused on turning out millennials in 2018.

“The politicians who have pocketed millions from the NRA and done nothing to make our schools and communities safer … will be voted out by the young Americans that are reminding our country to be better, to dream bigger,” Giffords said.

“We are making sure that they have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the first time and truly make a difference.”

The coalition has pledged an initial $1.5 million to the new registration drive that will also target young people online with digital advertisements.