Vote Young, Vote Often

Thanks in large part to 17-year-old Oliver York, and support from Generation Citizen, San Franciscans will decide in November whether to lower the voting age to 16.

Spoiler Alert: It makes a lot of sense.

"We're not trying to redefine adulthood.”

 

That’s Oliver responding to critics who say the move is a slippery slope.

 

After all, “today's 16-year-olds already work, pay taxes and drive 2-ton machines,” argues Celi from Generation Citizen, “They’re on the pulse of current events. And studies show their political knowledge is equal to 21-year-old adults.

 

About ⅓ of voters nationwide show up to the polls every year. Many of the problems behind low turnout can be mitigated by opening up the voting age.

High school-age voters would be actively engaged in American History classes -- an arena perfect for learning to deconstruct public media and political debates cooperatively with teachers and peers.

The 15+ countries that already have lowered voting ages now see voters who are active longer and more consistently than those who start voting later.

Bonus! Families -- including immigrant families -- are more likely to engage and participate in elections because young voters bring discussions home and can help navigate the process.

The fresh perspective and passion can be an antidote to apathy or an invitation to exercise their right as Americans.

This November, think Yes! on Measure F and let’s shore up the future of our democracy, together.

#allofus #generationcitizen #vote16sf #yesonf

 

 

Poll Results Show Strong Support for Yes on F

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     Contact: Celi Tamayo-Lee

Thursday, October 20, 2016                    Yes on F Campaign Manager

                                                                                      (415) 336-0615, celi@vote16sf.org                    

Support for Youth Voting Ballot Measure Surges in Latest Poll, SHOWING PATH TO VICTORY FOR PROP F

New poll shows historic Proposition F nearing the 50% needed to win

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A poll released today by EMC Research shows victory is within reach for Proposition F, the historic ballot measure to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds for local and school board elections in San Francisco. The poll of 800 likely voters conducted both online and by phone shows 49 percent plan to vote yes on Prop. F and 5 percent undecided. Support among young voters is especially strong, with 60 percent of those under 40 in favor of the ballot measure. This is the first time in history a measure of this kind has been on the ballot in any city.

This poll result represents a substantial increase in support since the measure was placed on the ballot in May. The swell of support for Prop. F is due to youth leaders’ work to secure endorsements from the city’s most influential players and to bring their message to voters through a grassroots field operation. 

Prop. F will help foster a culture of voting at an early age, leading to long-term improvements in voter turnout across future generations.

“Voter turnout is important for the future of San Francisco. Elections will impact everything from fixing our housing crisis, to improving our transportation system, and making our school district the best in the world. Voters understand this and that’s why support for Prop F is growing every day,” said School Board Vice President Shamann Walton. 

The campaign, also known as Vote16SF, grew out of an effort of the San Francisco Youth Commission that began in 2014. 

Partial list of supporters include

  • Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
  • The Democratic Party of SF
  • All members of SF Board of Education
  • State Senator Mark Leno
  • Assemblymember David Chiu
  • Assemblymember Phil Ting
  • Public Defender Jeff Adachi
  • All members of CCSF Board of Trustees
  • United Educators of San Francisco
  • SPUR
  • Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
  • Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

 

The 2016 VP Debate: Barbara Rose Johns and Farmville, Virginia

The 2016 VP Debate: Barbara Rose Johns and Farmville, Virginia

by Cami Doo

Tonight's VP debate takes place in Farmville, VA, the site of a historic American event lead by a 16 year old. On April 23rd, 1951, Barbara Rose Johns,  led a student strike for equal education at R.R. Moton High School. After securing NAACP legal support, the Moton High students filed Davis v. Prince Edward County, the largest and only student initiated case consolidated into Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring "separate but equal" public schools unconstitutional.

 

Today we celebrate the historical acts of justice other young people have organized before us. We know we are part of that legacy. 

#vote16sf #YesOnF etc.

Volunteer Extravagaza Experience

 

By Sierra Kirkpatrick

I first heard about Vote16 on May 3rd, a turning point in the movement. The charter amendment had just been passed by the Board of Supervisors, officially putting Vote16 on the November ballot. While my friends celebrated the news, I sat dumbfounded, confused what was happening. I had no idea what Vote16 was and what it meant for me. After that, I did some of my own research on the movement, learning about its humble roots and its overall objectives. My interest grew and I became eager to help out in any way I could. I wanted to be a part of this movement, to allow those with a voice to be heard no matter their age. 

When I got a Facebook invite to the Vote16 Volunteer Extravaganza, I was delighted. I wanted to help out, but I was also nervous. I didn’t know if I would know anyone there, or if I’d get along with the other volunteers. I signed in and had some time to socialize. I learned a few names and realized that a couple of the kids were from my school. Once the event started, we did a few fun ice breakers and talked about what brought us here. Then we had a few guest speakers, who brought us through the history of Vote16 and the importance of volunteers like us, to really create the movement. We met one of the founders of Vote16 and other YEA members who talked to us more about what they do and where the campaign is headed. A few even talked about their experiences working on prior campaigns. After lunch, for the last hour or so, we cycled through activities. We did a matching game about voting rights historically, we learned how to phone bank and canvas, and we even learned how to tell our own story and how it brought us to Vote16. I loved hearing people’s stories about their family history, their culture, and their personal experiences. I made sure to sign up for a couple shifts at the end of the day, and they even surpassed their goal for shift sign-ups. 

I had a great time meeting all these different people, but it really got me thinking, about why I was so excited about Vote16. Why was I so determined to let teenagers have a voice? Of course I am a teenager and I would vote if I could, but it was more than that. Not only would I vote, I would vote for what I am passionate about. I want my voice to be heard because I have ideas and values that need to recognized. I have learned about social injustices and environmental changes and can make informed opinions, just as much as some adults. I believe that I have a right to share my opinions and to vote, to make these dreams a reality. For me, Vote16 is about breaking down stereotypes and truly allowing everyone to make a difference in the city they live in. 

First Vote16 Luncheon a Success!

by Iris Morrell

YEA members and Jason Wyman worked to organize our first campaign luncheon.

Capture.PNG

 

On Saturday, August 13, artists, youth activists, and community members gathered together to discuss the importance of youth in democracy. Held at the Pacific Felt Factory’s gallery space in San Francisco’s Mission District, the event brought together a wide range of people, all with some donations, collaboration opportunities--and yes, food--to contribute.

 

The event was a potluck, and started with a question activity that invited people to talk to strangers about topics relating to Vote16. Questions ranged from “how do you know if a democracy is working?” to “what do you want to change most about San Francisco?” and all were met with powerful, lucid answers reflecting the diversity of our participants. From here, the conversation segued into a discussion of Vote16’s ins and outs, from the function of the YEA to the process of implementation once the ballot measure is passed. Finally, after a great discussion with contribution and ideas from every participant, we left with a concrete contribution and a way to keep in touch with each community member who was present. Several new hosts were identified as well!

 

I am very glad we were able to host this inaugural event with our good friend Jason Wyman! Jason, founder of 14 Black Poppies, has been a great community ally of Vote16 since it got on the ballot. From joining with us at the NAMAC conference, to leading three YEA workshops over the summer, he’s become a reliable member of our community and a major factor in the success of our grassroots campaign.

 

At this dinner party, much was discussed, but one idea became the center of our conversation: Vote16 is a community movement. Organized just two years ago by young Bay Area high school students, this campaign has always relied upon the kind contributions of San Franciscans of all ages. Once Vote16 got on the ballot, it didn’t stop relying on the community. In fact, we now need your help more than ever.

 

Fill out this form if you’d like to host a dinner party!


As the November polls grow closer, we continue to look for more adult allies who can become liaisons between our youth leaders and their communities. Less than 90 days left until election day--let’s make them count.