Democracy. Done. Right.

New year, same mission – building a democracy that works for all of us.

In 2019, Alliance organizations are running aggressive campaigns to expand access to the ballot for all citizens. We are beyond excited to support these important campaigns and the inspiring young organizers leading them. Here are highlights of what the Alliance network is already leading this year:

The Oregon Bus Project just unveiled their new bill to lower the voting age to 16 – inspired by the incredible young people they’ve been mobilizing with over the last year. They are also pushing some major bills in the legislature like paid postage for the entirety of the state’s mail-in ballots – making voting even more accessible in the  state!

New Hampshire Youth Movement is back at it, fighting a residency bill that would make students have to jump through many hoops to cast a ballot. They are mobilizing the new leadership (that they helped elect!) to get rid of the student residency requirements.

The organizing powerhouse in Milwaukee, Leaders Igniting Transformation, is continuing their push for Automatic Voter Registration, fighting back against lame duck efforts to limit early voting, and are mobilizing young voters to turn out upcoming spring elections.

The Forward Montana team is gearing up to fight voter suppression efforts in their state like a voter ID bill that would exclude student IDs (the worst). They are also championing Automatic Voter Registration, pre-registration for 16 year-olds, and efforts to lower the age of poll workers (or poll judges as they’re called in Montana) to 16 years-old.

Organizers at New Era Colorado have a packed legislative agenda aimed at expanding voting access. They are leading on efforts to require Voter Services Centers and ballot dropboxes on college campuses and lowering the voting age to 17 in primaries if the person will be 18 by the general election. 

Also moving mountains in the legislative session is MOVE Texas. In Texas, anyone who registers voters must be deputized by the county (seriously). MOVE is fighting to make this process universal across counties and transferable from county to county. They are also fighting to allow student IDs to be considered acceptable identification to vote and are supporting allies working to establish polling locations on campuses across the state with at least 10,000 students. MOVE also recently joined a lawsuit against the Secretary of State to stop purging voters from the rolls – NBD. 

Engage Miami, the crew that advocated and won additional polling locations at Miami Dade college campuses with partners last year, is back at it again. They’re fighting to keep these polling locations active in future elections and working to expand polling places to other campuses. With the successful passage of Amendment 4 (the ballot measure that restored the right to vote to millions of returning citizens in Florida), Engage Miami organizers are working to reach and register folks to vote affected by this amendment. 

The Alliance’s newest affiliate, Georgia Shift, which is based in Augusta, is fighting for an early voting polling location at their local public university for 2020. They’re also fighting against efforts to reduce early voting times in upcoming elections. You can also find GA Shift pushing their board of elections to hire more young people as poll workers!

Finally, Chicago Votes is working hard this year to expand their voting in jail work by hosting monthly voter registration drives at Cook County Jail and running an absentee ballot program that would help people in prison apply for absentee ballots and vote. They are also pushing a slew of bills that include requiring people in pretrial detention to be given the opportunity to vote in all jails across Illinois; turning Cook County Jail into a polling location; giving people who are released a Know Your Voting Rights guide including voter registration opportunity; requiring trainings for election workers overseeing elections in jails; and providing civic education courses to people being released from prison. And as if this was not enough, they are also working on a civic education course at Cook County Jail for people in pre-trial detention. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Our network is expanding our national imagination on what our democracy can look like. We’re proud to support groups that are leading the way on voting access and voting rights for all. 

Georgia On Our Minds

The Alliance for Youth Action is dedicated to building a large and diverse network of locally powered, youth-led organizations. We are proud to announce that our network just got a little bit bigger.

Join us in welcoming the newest affiliate at the Alliance for Youth Action – Georgia Shift!

Hailing from the beloved city of Augusta, Georgia Shift has grown to become a state leader in building young people’s political power. Their founder and Executive Director, Ian Bridgeforth, started Georgia Shift back in 2015. Since then, their staff of 5 have paved the way for youth organizing in rural communities and communities of color.

In 2018, their team sent 25,000 text messages, knocked on 10,000 doors, and distributed 10,000 voter guides. This non-stop work to engage and mobilize young voters contributed to a 379% increase in youth voter turnout during early voting in August-Richmond County this year. From powering the youth vote to fighting for affordable college, Georgia Shift is truly an organization building a better community for young people throughout Augusta.

Stay up to date on all the incredible work this team is leading to engage young people in Augusta on Facebook, Twitter, and Insta. You can give them a warm welcome by making a contribution to their work today.

Welcome to the family, Georgia Shift!

With excitement,

The Alliance Team

Election Day Victories from the Alliance Network

Wow! This has been an incredible election cycle. Young people led record breaking change across the country. In fact, according to exit poll analysis just released by CIRCLE, there was a ten point increase in youth turnout from 2014 to 2018. 31% of young people voted this election! And the organizations in our network – dedicated to building young, local, grassroots power- were the fire behind so much of that change. Here are some exciting updates from a few of our crews:

In Wisconsin, Leaders Igniting Transformation, an organization that is only ten months old, has contributed to rebuilding the progressive infrastructure in their state in a big way. This year they were able to knock 30,000 GOTV doors and send 50,000 GOTV texts! Statewide, 35% of young people turned out and booted Scott Walker and in LIT’s backyard, the Milwaukee City Council will be majority people of color for the first time ever. All of LIT’s hard work helped make these victories possible.

Forward Montana worked tirelessly to engage young people up and down the ballot. Exit poll data shows that young people supported Senator Jon Tester by a 40-point margin, and we just found out that he won re-election. But that’s not all, Forward Montana helped get the 6-Mill Levy over the finish line to keep public investment in higher education. For Forward Montana, their election work continues as there are local undecided races that they are keeping an eye on.

Colorado elected the nation’s first openly gay Governor (Jared Polis), flipped a Congressional House seat, and flipped the state Senate – all victories that New Era Colorado helped realize. In 2010, just four years after New Era was founded, 18-24 year old turnout was 24%. This year, it was 45%. And last night, New Era alumni were elected to Boulder County Clerk (Molly Fitzpatrick),the Colorado state House (Leslie Herod was re-elected), and CONGRESS (Joe Neguse)!

Down in Florida, Engage Miami contributed to the Amendment 4 victory, which will restore the right to vote to 1.5 million Floridians. Their Miami Dade turf saw a 15% increase in turnout from 2014 and two U.S. House seats were flipped (FL-26 and FL-27). Engage registered 1,684 voters at Florida International University (FIU) in FL-26, and helped turn out more than 7,704 voters during early vote. The district was won by 4,079 votes.

In Chicago, the team at Chicago Votes worked to mobilize the generation, resulting in young Chicagoans outperforming all other generations on Election Day for the first. time. ever. And the Chicago Votes crew worked in partnership with other local organizations to win a measure to add a free mental health clinic to one of their target neighborhoods!

Finally,  in Texas, we’re celebrating truly incredible increases in youth turnout. We’re talking an over 500% turnout increase during early vote and promising early signals based on exit poll data. MOVE Texas has been a key player in developing that statewide infrastructure – and our team was honored to organize alongside them during GOTV to witness their impact across San Antonio.

These are just a few of the incredible victories that our network contributed to. We’ll be rolling out more victories as folks have a chance to comb through their data and most importantly – rest.

What’s next? Flexing the power that was built throughout this cycle. For our network, voting is just one of the tools we use to fight for change. We will continue to organize on the issues young people in their communities care about at the local, state, and federal level. And the election hustle doesn’t stop – we’ve got our eyes on local races coming up in the Spring.

More to come!

We’re celebrating our network before Election Day! Join us!

We can’t believe it’s finally here! As we enter the final hours before E-Day, we want to make sure y’all go into November 6th excited by the work young people have led across the country this year. Check out some of the organizers leading the work and share this video with your friends!

Fourteen organizations in the Alliance for Youth Action network have registered 135,120 young voters (and we’re still adding up our other partner totals)! They’ve distributed 1,075,000 voter guides, made hundreds of thousands texts and calls, knocked tens of thousands of doors, hosted over one hundred parades to and parties at the polls, and we are still counting.

These numbers are just a part of the story. Here are some highlights that make us so, so proud:

MOVE Texas now has boots on the ground in key cities across the state including San Antonio, San Marcos, Seguin, Laredo, and Austin. They held 20 parties at the polls during early vote, with two more scheduled for Election Day! They worked in partnership to extend the early vote polling site at Texas State, which resulted in 3,000 votes cast! They registered 17,000 of the 27,000 new voters in Bexar County and are making a huge contribution to youth voter turnout records across the state.

The Ohio Student Association hit the ground running last November when they hustled with in-state partners to get Issue 1, a groundbreaking criminal justice reform measure, on the ballot by collecting over 730,000 signatures from voters in every county. Since then, they’ve worked with the Midwest Culture Lab and local organizers to train artists and creatives on how to engage young Ohioans around Issue 1 using cultural organizing tactics. Not to mention, they’ve registered over 30,000 voters, sent hundreds of thousands of texts, and knocked tens of thousands of doors across the state.

Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), in Milwaukee, ran their first Black Hogwarts program — a summer leadership institute where they trained the next generation of young organizers of color. And the results were awesome. Milwaukee had a 33% increase in voter turnout during the primary in communities they organize. Since then, they’ve knocked thousands of doors and collected just as many pledge to vote cards all while reaching hundreds of thousands of young people on social media. LIT is truly a leader in building much needed capacity for young folks of color in Milwaukee.

Georgia Shift has spent the last year and a half building power with young voters in Augusta and pushing candidates on the issues – including the high cost of college, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights. During the past few weeks of early vote, they’ve been mobilizing students to the polls and contributed to a record breaking 379% young voter turnout increase in Augusta!

New Era Colorado ran a massive program this year on over 20 campuses in 12 counties. They’ve registered over 40,000 voters this cycle and are doing the work to re-engage the young people they’ve registered since 2014 to ensure they’re turning out this year! That’s not all – keep an eye out for NEC alumni on the ballot! After tomorrow, NEC could have alumni serving on every level of government.

Chicago Votes has spent the last year running part of their voter engagement program at Cook County jails where they registered over 3,000 voters and ran an absentee ballot chase program in the jails. They organized to have the nation’s first jail-based polling place in the Cook County jail in the primary and are advocating to take it statewide! But that’s not all! They’ve been leading parades to the polls with hundreds of high school students all throughout early voting. Chicago Votes is also working with local artists and creatives to curate more spaces for young people in Chicago to show up and speak for themselves this midterm election cycle.

Forward Montana has been speaking truth to power by voicing the issues young Montanans care about most directly to candidates. From hosting candidate forums across the state, fighting to save state investment in higher education, and *of course* bringing out the vote goats, Forward Montana has been doing it up big all year. ICYMI – in Montana, the youth vote at this time in 2014 accounted for 8% of the vote share. This year it’s 15%.

Engage Miami has spent the cycle holding it down at Miami Dade College campuses where the most early vote ballots have been casted at any institution of higher learning in the state. From working in partnership to add two additional polling places on MDC campuses, to running an amazing campaign called “Secure the Vote” which seeks to engage young voters in the midterms through voter education and organizing around Amendment 4 to enfranchise voters with felony records, to organizing neighborhood block parties to mobilize young people to the polls. Engage Miami has been working hard and building up communities across the 305.

Minnesota Youth Collective, a one year old organization, has registered over 7,000 new voters and collected more than 15,000 pledge to vote cards to date. They are on 5 campuses, had an amazing fellowship program, and scaled up to a staff of 30 people, which has been crucial in filling a much-needed gap in the state’s organizing infrastructure this cycle. They even got creative during GOTV and hosted a drag show and brunch to encourage young people to vote early! You can find MNYC in dorms and on the doors turning out their peers!

The Washington Bus has been mobilizing for progressive candidates and ballot measures in the most Washington Bus way possible – with themed phone and text banks! From Game of Thrones to Harry Potter, the WA Bus continues to make these tactics fun for their community. Outside of electoral work, they’re fighting for free college in Seattle.

Since the Spring, the Oregon Bus has been working with high school students to mobilize their communities on the importance of gun violence prevention. They’ve grown their high school engagement program to meet demand and now have high school students on their board. This fall, they have been organizing on the issues at the ballot box – including fighting against awful ballot measures on reproductive health care and immigration.

Poder in Action continues to build power with communities of color in Phoenix. This year, they collected over 10,000 in-depth community surveys to better engage voters ahead of this year’s election. In the past 2 weeks, they’ve knocked over 20,000 doors in Phoenix. Poder has their eyes on the prize this year and are engaging and organizing their communities to win!

Michigan Student Power Network has hosted over 45 trainings for youth activists across the state this year. On Election Day, they will host parties and voting information booths on campuses across the state to make sure students have the information they need to vote and enjoy themselves while doing so!

Pennsylvania Student Power Network has scaled their work to reach over 20 campuses across the state. They ran an amazing College for All campaign and since then multiple candidates running for office this year, including Lt. Gov Candidate John Fetterman, have endorsed their College for All platform. On Election Day, they’ll host 23 parties at the polls on campuses across the state!

These are just some of the groups in our network who are leaving it all out in the field on Election Day. And while it’s wild to write this knowing the exhaustion that folks are feeling, the work doesn’t end tomorrow. The true power of the network is flexed after Election Day when we continue to invest in young people to grow their skills, fight for the issues they care about, and hold electeds accountable.

So hang in tight. Cast your ballot and make sure your friends and family do too.

1 Million Voter Guides, Oh My!

We love bringing you good news in the midst of so much uncertainty in our country, and boy do we have some good news this week.

The Alliance network *officially* has 1 million voter guides being circulated in communities across the country from now until Election Day! And this year we are partnering with NextGen America and Planned Parenthood Votes to collectively distribute over 2 million guides nationwide!

Voter guides change the way young and first time voters are engaged because organizers are able to have face to face conversations about what’s on the ballot. This is a game changer because our folks are usually the first people to have real talks with young people about the candidates and issues on ballots. We know too well that if our network isn’t out in their communities facilitating these conversations, they just wont happen. This is why our goal is to grow this program each and every year.  

So how does this work? Each organization in our network creates their own local guides and distribution plan. Typically,  guides are mailed to voters, handed out in community spaces, and inserted in campus newspapers. They are also distributed digitally through text, email, and digital ads.

We know that telling young people to just “go vote” or who to vote for isn’t effective.

What is effective are c4 voter guides that show a clear difference between the candidates – these guides ask yes/no questions of candidates so young voters can clearly see where they stand on issues that are the most important to them.

And we have the data to prove these are effective – for example, in a previous test we learned that young Black voters who were mailed voter guides turned out at a rate of nearly 2 percentage points higher than those who did not receive a guide.

How was that for some good news? With 1 million voter guides out and young people across the network making calls, texts, and on the doors, we know our generation is ready to make history this November!

The Alliance Network is ON FIRE!

The Alliance Network has been putting in hella work to get young people registered before deadlines hit. So far the network has registered over 100,000 young people to vote and counting! Take a look at some of the inspiring work our folks are leading!

  • This Saturday Chicago Votes is partnering with the Chicago Women’s March to host their 4th annual Parade To The Polls! If you’re in town, join thousands of young people as they lead the parade down Chicago streets to early vote polling locations.  
  • MOVE Texas has registered 29,007 young people across Texas (San Antonio, Laredo, Seguin, San Marcos, Austin, and more!) making this their biggest year yet!
  • This weekend, the Midwest Culture Lab & Ohio Student Association is hosting a convening in Columbus where artists, creatives, and organizers from the Midwest will come together to co-create content around issue and electoral work popping this fall.
  • Young people in Durham, NH broke the voter turnout record in this years midterm thanks to the work of the New Hampshire Youth Movement and friends!
  • Engage Miami hosted a rally and press conference at Miami Dade Community College to mark the last day to register to vote in Florida. The event was filled with food, music, and a deeply engaging conversation about the importance of voting this November. Engage has registered 7,020 people in total!
  • Forward Montana is hosting a series of candidate forums in key cities and counties across Montana including Gallatin County, Missoula, and Yellowstone County. These forums feature  candidates running for County Commissioner, County Clerk, and State Representative.
  • Pennsylvania Student Power Network is hosting a kick back for young people to mingle and strategize around issues that are their top voting priorities. This event will be a mixture of community building and training where leaders from campuses across Philly will learn how to utilize  their voter guides and make plans to host parties at the polls!
  • New Era Colorado has registered 38,000 people to vote so far this year! With a week left to get folks registered in Colorado, they are only 2,00 away from their 2018 VR goal!

We are 26 days away from a historic election and we couldn’t be more proud of the work our network is leading on.

Don’t forget to watch or catch up on our weekly round-up on Instastory!

9,094 voters registered on National Voter Registration Day!

This week, we celebrated the largest National Voter Registration Day ever! The Alliance network  threw down on Tuesday to register young voters across the country and empower our generation to turn out on Election Day.

On National Voter Registration Day, 13 organizations from our network registered…are you ready for it...9,094 voters! And we are still counting final voter reg numbers from folks.

National Voter Registration Day was a whirlwind of a day. In addition to registering the hell out of young people, our network also had a digital reach of 1.6 million  impressions.

Here are a few of our favorite highlights from our network, check us out!

  • Hillary Clinton gave the Alliance, MOVE Texas, Leaders Igniting Transformation, and New Era Colorado some love on Twitter. Wow!
  • Minnesota Youth Collective and Engage Miami worked with RISE to Win to register voters alongside the MN Twins and the Miami Dolphins! Go team, GO!
  • Forward Montana brought out the dogs and vote goats for an epic NVRD event. Who let the dogs out? Forward Montana!
  • LIT blessed us with this iconic tweet
  • MOVE Texas crushed their voter registration record last year by registering 5,375 voters! Everything is BIGGER with MOVE Texas!
  • Even the Alliance staff got in the field Tuesday to register voters in Baltimore!

Want to see more? For a full rundown of what happened in the field on National Voter Registration Day, check out our Instagram Story here.

Thank you for celebrating the democracy heroes in our network who register voters every single day and then turn all the way up on National Voter Registration Day each year. This is what young people’s political power looks like.

The Midwest is for the Culture!

Amidst the many programs, expansion, and partnership work happening here at the Alliance, we forgot to tell you about an exciting new program we’re housing for the cycle. It’s called the Midwest Culture Lab, and its purpose is to increase the civic engagement of young people in the Midwest by integrating cultural organizing and story-driven content with grassroots, youth organizing.

This spring we partnered with experts in marketing, advertising, and culture to create a story platform by young people of color in the Midwest in order to tell a more authentic and holistic story about their lives. This summer we hired cultural organizers and put out a call to emerging creatives across the region to tell the unsung stories of their communities centered around joy, resistance, and transformation!

This is bigger than getting the cool kids more engaged in politics. We’re working with over 50 creatives (and paying them!) to create their best content using the story platform “Co-created by us, real, and with joy!: The world we need.”

And because everything we do is centered in the field, this work is anchored by affiliates and partners at Chicago Votes, Ohio Student Association, and Michigan’s We The People.

We believe that politics is where some of the people are some of the time, but culture is where all the people are all of the time which is why we are so excited to develop programming that joins local influencers, culture creators and community organizers to co-create more just communities that reflect the values of the people.

To learn more the Midwest Culture Lab visit our website or watch this webinar for a more in depth explanation.

Announcing Our Newest Affiliate, Minnesota Youth Collective!

At the Alliance, we believe in building powerful youth organizing homes that are explicitly locally-led and youth-led.

Which is why we are beyond excited to announce…

Our board of directors just formally approved a new Alliance Affiliate and home for young organizers and activists in the Twin Cities – Minnesota Youth Collective!

Young people are the largest age group in Minnesota – that’s some serious power that the Minnesota Youth Collective is ready to flex. This organization was thoughtfully built by statewide partners and is led by its fierce founder, Emily Wellen, an Alliance alumnus herself and former national program staffer at the then Bus Federation! MN Youth Collective has already welcomed an incredible staff of eight that’s building power across the state (& they’re still hiring)!

While less than a year old, the team has already hit the ground running – coordinating student walkouts for gun safety, training young people across the state in all things organizing, hosting March for Our Lives Road to Change activists, and registering voters like it’s what they were born to do (over 2,000 voters registered already this year)!

You can follow their work to engage and empower the largest age group in the state on Facebook, Twitter, and Insta or make a contribution to their work here.

We’re inspired and re-energized every time our family gets a little bit bigger…

Field So Hard

Can you believe it’s already June? Summer is in full swing and so is our network. We’ve got some BIG updates and wins from across the country that we’re honored to uplift this week:

 As part of the Ohio Organizing Collective, Alliance affiliate Ohio Student Association, is supporting a ballot initiative that will reclassify drug possession felonies as misdemeanors and reinvest millions of dollars into drug treatment and community-based recovery programs. Next week, 100 out-of-state allies will meet in Columbus and join in-state teams to close out signature collection for the initiative. The week will wrap up back at Columbus Pride, an event that an estimated 500,000 people attend. We moved resources to support this effort and hope others will too!

 Last Tuesday, our affiliate MOVE San Antonio celebrated their 5th birthday in a big way – by unveiling MOVE Texas. They have been Mobilizing, Organizing, Voting, and Empowering a new generation across San Antonio and have expanded to reach young people in Seguin, San Marcos, and Laredo. Their new name better reflects the scope and depth of MOVE’s work in Texas and we’re so excited to celebrate this moment alongside them.

In Chicago, HB4469 is on the verge of making history after passing the Senate. This bill championed by our affiliate Chicago Votes would set up a formal process to ensure people have access to the ballot and understand their voting rights are restored upon release and it would make Cook County Jail the first jail in the country to be an official polling location, nbd. Learn more and urge Governor Rauner to sign the bill.

Our affiliate in Wisconsin, Leaders Igniting Transformation, celebrated a big win at the school board level after their students fought to strike an incredibly dangerous provision of proposed discipline policies that would have mandated police be called on students for “suspected criminal activity.” LIT’s vigilance and leadership in Milwaukee Public Schools is what will dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

One of our newest youth organizing partners, New Hampshire Youth Movement, is working with a coalition of organizations to protect the right to vote by pushing Governor Sununu to veto HB372 and HB1264 – bills that would suppress voter participation, particularly of students.

Our affiliate, Washington Bus, is gearing up their Tuition-Free College campaign, collecting stories about why students are #BrokeAF and hosting public events where young people can hold their elected officials accountable and shape what the Seattle Promise program could look like.

Young Progressive Policy Group – New York, our youth organizing partner, is fiercely fighting to lower the New York voting age to 17 by championing a bill that also ensures NY high school students are fully educated in civic participation and streamlines the process of voter registration by encouraging students to register in the classroom.

Finally, our affiliate New Era Colorado hosted their annual Toast to Democracy on Wednesday, bringing together hundreds of New Era friends and allies to celebrate and support youth-driven democracy. Happy 12th birthday, New Era!

Staying rooted in building local power and supporting the young people leading the charge is how we win. We couldn’t be prouder to work alongside a network that is transforming the landscape of their local communities, cities, and states to build a society worthy of our generation.