VOTING AT 16, RATHER THAN 18 – CREATES HABITUAL, LIFE-LONG VOTERS!
Studies show that younger, first-time voters are more likely to become habitual voters. Early exposure to democratic participation produces life-long voters. Cities across the country are considering this and Berkeley recently passed the same measure allowing 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in School Board elections!
Voting is habitual, and 16 is a much better time than 18 to establish the habit of voting. At 18, people are in a state of transition that makes it less likely they will vote. At 16, young people can begin the practice of voting in a more stable environment, before leaving home and before leaving high school – where they are supported by family, peers, and teachers.
16 AND 17-YEAR OLDS ARE ALREADY ENTRUSTED WITH ‘ADULT’ RESPONSIBILITIES
The state of California already recognizes that 16 year olds have the maturity, reasoning and comprehension skills to be granted new responsibilities, such as the ability to work, drive, and pay taxes on the income they earn.
OAKLAND YOUTH VOTE WILL INCREASE VOTER TURN-OUT!
California currently allows 16 year-olds to pre-register to vote because early voter engagement boosts turnout.
Other cities who have already implemented Youth Vote, have seen a dramatic increase in turnout. In Takoma Park, Maryland, in 2013, voter turnout of 16 and 17 year olds was four times higher than overall voter turnout. This shows young people will turn out to vote in much higher numbers and often times become the catalyst to getting their parents and family members engaged. Getting young people engaged early is a proven strategy to increase overall voter participation.
Voter turn-out in Oakland is lowest in the three districts that have the highest percentage of students. Half the students in our school district (or 51.3%) live in Districts 5, 6, and 7 – so Oakland Youth Vote would help boost overall voter turnout in East Oakland.
OAKLAND YOUTH VOTE STRENGTHENS OUR DEMOCRACY!
The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on young people. Education has been interrupted and young people face an uncertain future in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis. Students deserve a say in the decisions about our recovery.
That is why we need to build and invest in a real democracy that includes the voices of ALL vulnerable residents including students, workers, unhoused, undocumented and low-income families. Oakland Youth Vote is one step towards transforming our democratic process and will enfranchise up to 8,000 new voters!
OAKLAND YOUTH VOTE ENSURES THE SCHOOL BOARD IS RESPONSIVE TO THE NEEDS OF ALL STUDENTS!
Oakland students are the primary recipients of the services provided by school – and their experiences, needs and concerns should inform district policy and priorities of School Board members.
OAKLAND YOUTH VOTE INCREASES CIVIC ENGAGEMENT!
Voting on issues that directly impact their lives – prepares students to participate in democracy. Lessons on civic engagement become real when paired with real-life opportunities to exercise political power and responsibility.
The majority of our School Board already supports this measure and have stated in a letter to Council, “We will support the Superintendent and staff to provide the necessary education and support for these young voters.”
OAKLAND YOUTH VOTE INVESTS IN YOUTH LEADERSHIP!
When we invest in young people’s leadership and solutions, they learn to believe in themselves and the power they have to make our community stronger.
Youth under the age of 18 make vital contributions to society every day – leading with solutions and bold action on issues like global climate change, gun violence, and education.
From reinstating OUSD’s Free Supper program to protecting critical student services and standing with teachers on the picket lines – Oakland youth are making positive change! Oakland Youth Vote will give thousands more young people the opportunity to become engaged in improving their schools.