Youth Vote

Oakland Youth Vote (OYV) is a youth-led effort to co-author legislation to lower the voting age in Oakland School Board elections to include eligible 16 and 17 year olds. Oakland Youth Vote resulted in a unanimous vote of approval by Oakland City Council members in May 2020, advancing it to a public vote as ballot measure QQ in the November 3, 2020 election. 

This campaign was started a year ago by youth leaders from Oakland Kids First, All City Council, and other Oakland Youth Vote Coalition members. Youth organizers have been conducting tireless research, meeting with City Council and School Board members, co-authoring the Oakland Youth Vote resolution with Council President Rebecca Kaplan, and building coalitions with student leaders and adult allies. 

Studies show that enfranchising sixteen and seventeen year-olds will:

  • Expand democratic participation by getting youth invested in the habit of voting before they transition into adulthood
  • Boost voter turnout of their parents
  • Create more lifelong voters – a necessity in an age of low turnout and voter suppression.

Youth also have immense experiential expertise regarding our school system and this effort will increase OUSD’s accountability to their primary constituency – students.

To learn more about why it’s important to expand voting rights in Oakland school board elections to include an additional 8,000 youth, please visit the Oakland Youth Vote website. Oakland Youth Vote is part of a growing national movement led by young people across the country to enfranchise teen voters that was featured August 13 in Teen Vogue’s article “These Teens are Leading the Fight to Lower the Voting Age”