Do you even vote, bro?

Do you even vote, bro?

This week’s Hella Bus Blog Thirsty Thursday post is all about elections! #knowledgeresponsibly

This week was a big week for democracy with primary election day on August 2nd at the center of it all!

We have some big races happening around the state and in King County from picking a new Seattle mayor to determining control of the state senate in the 45th district (Check out results from election night here). At a time when many young people feel like national politics is kind of like a montage of The Real World and musical chairs, getting down with local elections gives us the opportunity to connect with candidates and vote for people who will have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives (also, this is how we get free churros every Friday from City Hall #amiright? OR #amiright?)

Anyway, let’s talk about how many people voted (aka: turnout) – non-presidential and primary elections aren’t exactly known for hella people busting out to vote and it looks like this year isn’t exactly a combo breaker. Statewide turnout is at 20% (King County coming in at 33%) of registered voters, and with the average age of primary voters statewide being 62 years old (#tbh, I’m a bit disappointed).

That’s why the Bus spent the last few months out meeting young people and helping them register to vote at music festivals, college campuses, and community events! We reached thousands of young people all over Washington in-person and followed up with them through phone calls and our brand spankin’ new text outreach system! It helped us reach out to and remind young people to vote in a way that we hadn’t be able to do before. We even had Komo News stop by the office to learn more about it!

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 7th! We have the general election coming up and it’s coming in hot! You have plenty of time to register to vote, if you missed the primary voter registration deadline! You can head to registerinwa.org and reach out to us if you have any questions on how to register to vote, or how you can get involved to help other young people turnout on election day!

#Toby

#Toby

Natalie Brand, K5 News’ chief political reporter, came to interview our very own Toby Crittenden this morning.

Toby is a master narrator- he told The Bus’ story seamlessly. His hair also looked great (#TeamSaveIt).

Brand seemed interested in voter apathy and ways in which local organizations, such as The Bus, work to engage people. Brand asked, “Why is voter turnout lower in the tech community?” to which Toby responded, “I wish I could say that young people are a big, monolithic block, but they aren’t… If I moved across the country, I would be aware of what’s happening day to day, but it wouldn’t necessarily catch my heartstrings.”

Toby believes that the more time you spend in a city, the more likely you are to develop a keen awareness and passion for what’s happening around you. The tech community tends to be in-and-out, and it’s understandable that young people are likely to have strong roots and interests elsewhere. However, Toby argues that as tech community grows and solidifies, if in 10-20 years we are still asking that question, then we will have a huge problem.

On the efficacy of reaching out to young people, Toby explained The Youth Agenda’s four core issues are purely representative of young folks’ concerns and passions. Part of The Youth Agenda’s goals, beyond engaging young voters, is to make sure politicians know which issues young people care about as a means of enhancing their credibility.

When questioned about voter demographics and target populations, Toby explained that we ask ourselves, “where are the most young people, and where are the most people of color? We strongly believe in racial justice, and we try to target folks who are least likely to have access to information.” The Bus’ places a substantial focus on Districts 2 and 3, for example.

In relation to The Bus’ youth engagement, Toby relayed some of the super fun and cool things we do. He described Candidate survivor as a “…way to flip the Town Hall [paradigm] and take candidates out of their comfort zones… to ask real policy questions while creating an immediate feedback loop (i.e. text to vote).”

Kudos Toby, on a job well done!

This blog post was written by Natalie, a Public Policy major at Duke University and the Bus’ 2015 DukeEngage Intern.

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