Voter Outreach/ID Committee
Join VADF's new effort to reach new voters and fight voter suppression laws that disproportionately
impact the poor, the disabled and voters of color.
Lowering the Virginia Voting Age to 16
Virginia Democray Forward-VADF is endorsing the Virginia Chapter of the National Youth Rights Association's goal to lower the Virginia voting age to 16.
16-and-17-year-olds are not allowed to vote even though many of them are politically active and knowledgeable. We call for Virginia’s General Assembly to amend its Constitution to lower its voting age to 16, empowering teenagers, increasing voter turnout, and making Virginia more democratic.
WHY LOWERING THE VOTING AGE IS IMPORTANT
There is no other solution to age discrimination in voting.
Lowering the voting age primarily benefits 16-and-year-olds by giving them the right to vote, but it also benefits other age groups by making them more likely to vote: 16-year-olds are more likely to cast their first vote and continue voting, and political participation among youth makes parents more likely to vote.
In 2013 when Takoma Park lowered its voting age to 16, voters under 18 had 44% turnout, compared to 11% total turnout. They have continued to have higher turnout than adults. In 2014, adult turnout increased as well, with total turnout rising to 28%.
PATH TO VIRGINIA VOTING AGE LOWERED TO 16
The National Youth Rights Association to advocate for Delegate Sam Rasoul's bill to allow localities to lower their voting ages.
VADF's Get-Out-the-African-American Vote (GOTAAV)
Get out the African-American Vote (GOTAAV) for the 2018 midterm elections and increase the rate of African American voting participation in Virginia by at least 10% compared to their participation in 2016.
Why getting out the African American vote is important
According to numerous studies, the African-American vote has been pivotal in close elections. It was pivotal positively during the Virginia elections of November 2017 and the Alabama race in December 2017, and negatively (because participation was down) in 2016. Many believe that Bill Clinton owes many of his wins (to the governorship of Arkansas and his 1992 presidential bid) to the African American vote; that Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry lost because they neglected the African American vote after taking it for granted, and that Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012 because African-American voter participation was at all-time levels.
How we plan to help get out the African-American vote
Focus on the following activities:
Helping African-Americans register to vote
Ensuring that anyone who is registered to vote has a valid, photo ID
Getting people to take advantage of early voting
Ensuring that any candidate for office engages African-American communities
Ensuring that any candidate for office takes up issues that are of concern for African-American communities
We will engage early, often and directly
We will engage with the following:
Existing activist groups that are focused on mobilizing African-American communities on voting: e.g., Spread The Vote
African-American civic groups
African-American grassroots organizations
African-American religious communities
African-American celebrities in DMV area
How you can help
Join the team. If you are already part of a group focused on Getting Out the African-American Vote , contact us so that we can partner up. We have much important work to do -- work that can make a huge difference. Either way, we would love to hear from you.
Tools and Resources