Five things we are legisloving
If there's one thing we here at the Bus really, really like, it's registered voters. And we should - over the years Bus volunteers have registered thousands upon thousands of young people to vote. Literally.
As young people, there are a lot of things between us and staying registered: we move a lot (once every three years on average) and sometimes we change our names (Marriage Equality anyone?).
The biggest challenge to youth voter participation is not apathy - it's access. Access to a political system that can, and should, meet us where we are.
That's why we're excited about five simple and simply awesome bills that will help make sure everyone can sippeth from the cup of democracy.
Five bills that are cause for legis-elation:
- Election Day Registration: Know what's a bummer? Not getting the opportunity to vote. Know how many Americans didn't vote in 2008 because they missed their registration deadline? 6. Effing. Million. (That's about four Idahos). That's why we're pleased as punch about these bills to extend the online voter registration deadline to up to 8 days before the election and registration in person before 5pm on election day. Learn more on Hella Bus.
- Motor Voter 16 and 17 year old Pre-Registration: This bill would allow 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote at the department of licensing. That means, when young Timmy shows up at the DOL to take his driving test, he can also pre-register to vote so when he turns 18 he's good to go. For more, see this attic dwelling philosopher.
- Washington State DREAM Act: Speaking of access to good things, the WA version of the DREAM Act would extend state-based financial aid to young aspiring citizens in Washington to make sure that talented young Washingtonians can pursue their higher education dreams. Yes.
- Increasing Ballot Dropboxes: Did you know that there are only 15 ballot dropboxes in all of King County? That is one dropbox per every 31 Seattle Starbucks locations. I know! Shock! Outrage! Luckily, there are several proposals requiring more ballot dropboxes including requiring ballot receptacles (we don't name these things) on college campuses. The best proposal is still under construction, but stay tuned for more.
- Washington Voter Rights Act: This was that extra wonky bill we've mentioned a bunch recently. The Voting Rights Act will make sure all communities will have a chance to elect the candidate of their choice in local elections. It's awesome. For info, check out wavotingrights.org.
Bus volunteers, interns, and staff are already on the ground making moves to support better democracy. Keep any eye out for updates on the bills above, and news about other fabulous bills that encourage voter participation. Want to get involved? Sign up for one of our weekly phone (pronounced "fun") banks on our events calendar! Wednesday's no good for you? Email Abigail at abigail[at]washingtonbus[dot]org and we'll find a time that works!