As politically-engaged young people, we also know that forces are mobilizing to limit our access to the franchise by making it difficult to access the ballot box. By requiring unnecessary forms of government-issued photo identification, limiting early voting opportunities, eliminating same-day registration, changing polling locations, and gerrymandering electoral districts to their advantage, conservatives are positioning themselves not just in the way of social progress but as bona fide roadblocks to transformative change. In this movement moment, we are committed to channeling the legacy of the organizers who, throughout US history, have forced elected officials to expand the right to vote –– not to limit it. Through our Vote Program and our Arrive With Five Program, Young People For is committed to organizing young folks to turn out those most disproportionately affected by structural violence in local, state, and national elections during and beyond presidential election years. We are committed to leveraging our Vote Program to redefine “civic engagement” in ways which incorporate those who cannot vote — including undocumented people, formerly incarcerated people, differently-abled people, and many more — into conversations on our shared future.
An example of voter rights and education work is that of 2013 Fellow Zach Koop, who passed a campus resolution at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that allowed all 10,000 students to get new student IDs compliant with new voter-ID law for free.
Many thanks to Ariel Boone ’09, Quiana McKenzie ’08, and People For the American Way Foundation staff for their help in the shaping of this issue area. Photo of the 2014 YP4 Vote Organizers cohort, representing 25 organizers from 14 states and 22 campuses – collectively, they mobilized over 30,000 voters.