Youth Vote

Oakland Youth Vote (OYV) is a successful youth-led campaign effort to co-author legislation that lowered 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, which advanced it to a public vote as ballot measure QQ in Oakland’s November 3, 2020 election. Measure QQ passed with 67% voting YES to including Oakland youth in future school board elections.

This campaign was started in 2019 by youth leaders from Oakland Kids First, All City Council, and other Oakland Youth Vote Coalition members. Youth organizers conducted tireless research, met with City Council and School Board members, co-authored the Oakland Youth Vote resolution with Council President Rebecca Kaplan, and built coalitions with student leaders and adult allies across Oakland. 

Now youth leaders will continue to work collaboratively and develop plans to successfully implement Measure QQ in order to enfranchise over 8,000 youth voters in Oakland before the next school board election.

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, 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” and highlighted in KQED’s article “The Passing of Oakland’s Measure QQ and the Future of Our Democracy.”