Election szn is here!
We have said goodbye to our Summer Fellows, Candidate Survivor gowns, and Capitol Hill Block Party gear for the year. Don’t worry — things are far from winding down. High school and college campus voter registration drives are in full-swing and we are here for it. Bus staff and volunteers took over Western Washington University for Move-In Weekend. In partnership with Western Votes, a student-led organization, we registered 1,700 students to vote in just three days. As incoming students grabbed their dorm keys, our team ensured they updated their voter information to receive their ballots at their current mailing address. Many students registered for the first time!
Why register students to vote on college campuses? Registering college students every year is a major way to drive up voter turnout among young people. We need to be meeting students where they are. Despite Washington’s newly extended voter registration deadline of October 28th, students will still need to update their information if they moved over the summer. Since a majority of university students are renters, this is an important effort.
We want to make it easy to register to vote. Many students are juggling school with work (sometimes more than one job) and family responsibilities. More and more student organizations are investing in civics education and voter registration to amplify the voices in their communities. And guess what? It’s working. Last year, midterm turnout for young voters (ages 18-29) is up to 31% — that’s millions more than in 2014.
Civic engagement brings together communities on campus. Voter registration efforts like Western Votes attract students from various of backgrounds, majors, and political passions. Western Votes alum, Ari Winter, explains, “Coming to Western was easier for me because I had other passionate folks volunteering around me. Western Votes has been a transformational experience for me as a student, voter, activist, and human being.” This is why we do the work we do: youth-led movements are powerful and deserve support.
We believe our democracy works best when everyone can participate. Good things happen when elected officials know who’s voting. Young voters who advocate for affordable housing, climate justice, reproductive justice and more can make a real difference in their legislators’ priorities. In just the last two weeks, the Bus has registered more than 700 high school students to vote — now we want to turn that energy into turnout in November.
Sound like fun and you want to volunteer? Or, do you want to run your own voter registration drive? Reach out to Emma Scalzo at emma[at]washingtonbus[dot]org.
Seattle City Council elections are coming up! Candidate forums are a great way to get to know your district candidates, what their platforms are, and how they will work for the people if elected. Candidate forums provide constituents the chance to ask questions and create a space for conversation about the wants of the people and the goals of those that are running for elected office. To get young people involved in this political process, it’s important to make these forums free, well-advertised, and designed to engage and encourage the public to vote.
Organizing candidate forums that make politics exciting and engaging specifically for young people is a huge part of increasing young voter turnout and making the political arena a more accessible space. I benefit from candidate forums as settings where I can be comfortable approaching candidates directly. Being at forums with other young people is an easy way for me to learn about the stances of candidates on the issues that I care about. Ultimately, forums help me better choose who I should vote for. Youth-oriented candidate forums also let candidates know about the issues that young people in their district care about and gives them an opportunity to speak to them directly about their platform. Overall, candidate forums for young people that subvert traditional forums will get young people more involved in politics, which is what the Bus is all about!
– Emily Fortier, Fellowship Class of 2019
A Personal Message from the Board of Directors
Dear Bus Family and Friends,
The Board of Directors is excited to announce Amy Wasser as the Interim Executive Director of The Washington Bus. Amy joins the Bus as a seasoned nonprofit leader and a skilled organizational strategist. She most recently served as the Interim Executive Director at University Beyond Bars. We are confident that Amy’s energy and collaborative approach will be great assets to the Bus.
Over the course of the year, Amy will lead our board, staff, and stakeholders through a strategic planning process and the search for our next Executive Director. We’re so grateful to the Bus community for your steadfast support and look forward to announcing opportunities to meet Amy and the team. Please join us in welcoming Amy to the Bus and read a message from Amy below.
Seferiana Day, Michael Hill, and Aaron Robertson
Executive Committee, Board of Directors
A Letter from the Interim Executive Director
I am honored to have been named the Interim Executive Director of The Washington Bus, an organization that has a direct impact on the issues important to young people today and for the future. I have been a nonprofit professional for over 20 years and have spent the majority of my career assisting organizations with success/strategic planning, operations, and human resource development. I look forward to doing the same for the Bus and to meeting you at one of our events or programs soon. If you would like to meet with me one-on-one, please feel free to reach out to me via email at amy[at]washingtonbus[dot]org.
If you haven’t yet, please click here to read about our work last year in our 2018 Impact Report.
Interim Executive Director
Interested in contributing to our work this year? Just click here.
The Bus Fellowship is an intensive, intentional, and transformative experience for young people who are ready to inspire change alongside their communities. Over the course of ten weeks, Fellows learn from progressive experts from across the state, run the most innovative civic programs in Washington State, and collaborate with community organizations and issue campaigns for hands-on organizing experience. Find a complete list of Fellow job responsibilities on the 2019 Fellowship Job Description.
The Fellowship application for 2019 is closed.
For information regarding the Fellowship or questions about the application process please contact our Leadership Development Coordinator, Will Muhammad. Will can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (206) 325-1889.