No Voter Left Behind

Increasing civic engagement in marginalized communities by helping the disenfranchised vote.

Photo of Rachel Wu
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Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

December 31, 2003

Date You Started Your Project Started

09/26/19

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Black and Hispanic citizens, whose poverty rate is nearly 3 times as that of whites, are at least 2 times more likely to experience barriers to voting than white counterparts. Racially biased election laws have literally warped democracy by disenfranchising voters in 2016. The right to vote must be protected to elect leaders and policies that reflect the communities they represent, especially the underrepresented, who have no voice otherwise.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We will recruit volunteers using social media and emailing high schools, other civic engagement nonprofits, and local politicians like Assemblymembers to gain traction. We will start programs where volunteers, especially students practicing their language skills, teach immigrants how to register to vote in their native languages. The education part continues when we launch social media campaigns & design flyers to spread awareness about the fact that you are allowed to take time off work to vote and the opportunity to register to vote online in certain states. In addition, we will partner with transportation companies like Uber to provide transportation & raise money so that people can get to polling sites (since lack of transportation is cited as a major reason for not voting among minorities). We will also have volunteers call Senators to demand fair voting laws. We will further use this volunteer network to contact schools, libraries, and other public places to hold voter reg drives and assemble boxes of supplies (clipboards, posters, stickers, pins, etc.) to ship to the drives and also email a document with a checklist and legal information for the state the drive is held in.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

When I was researching for a debate tournament, I was horrified to come across dozens of articles about racially biased election laws disenfranchising citizens in minority and low-income areas. I thought, “If I don’t cover it, who will? The media sure doesn't.” As a low-income person of color who attends a large public school with a 93% minority enrollment, I am part of a community that is being disenfranchised right now. I personally know people whose parents simply cannot afford to take time off work to vote, don't have transportation, and aren't confident enough in their English to consider voting. The assumption that voting doesn't matter because my area always votes blue further solidifies the lack of civic engagement; people don't even want to discuss politics in my town because they think their vote will be a drop in the bucket and it's a waste of time.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I refuse to be complicit and allow democracy to collapse right in front of our eyes. Minority and low-income communities are subjected to dangerous food & water conditions, violent crime, and high rates of incarceration. Restrictive voting laws and lack of access to the ballot further silence these communities and prevent change from being made; in fact, they have even changed the outcome of the presidential election. We must stand up and stop the marginalized from suffering in silence.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

A disenfranchised citizen would now be able to vote because a lot of the stress is taken out from the process. Being in poverty is extremely taxing, and many don't believe they have the energy to vote even if their vote mattered. However, we can make the process a lot easier: those who receive classes on voting in their native language will have a much easier time registering without the language barrier, and awareness campaigns allow people to take advantage of registering online in some states and using the right to take work off to vote. We also provide transportation, which reduces a lot of stress and helps voters get to polling sites.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

We will partner with transportation companies, like Uber, to provide transportation to polling sites, which no other similar nonprofit does. Other civic engagement nonprofits only connect youth with youth, or connect adults with adults, but my organization focuses on reaching communities & volunteers of all ages. We utilize each group's skill in a different way; youth that are taking language classes in school like Spanish will be more likely to teach in the program that helps immigrants register to vote, and adults will likely lead voter registration drives in libraries and town centers.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

No Voter Left Behind will assess its impact by measuring the number of voters registered & ballots cast as a result of our initiatives, the number of boxes of voter registration drive supplies sent, number of partnerships with schools and nonprofits, and amount of money raised to support a network of voter registration drives throughout the country and transportation for voters. We also plan to fight for fairer voting laws by calling politicians, setting up petitions, and garnering media pressure through social media. We will measure success by the number of signatures and petitions received for these initiatives and any media/news recognition we receive.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The project will be in stage 1 until December; we're building a base of volunteers, support from state Senators, partnerships with other nonprofits, sponsors, and partnerships with community centers and libraries. Stage 2 will entail supporting a network of voter registration drives across the country with these new partnerships, partnering with transportation companies to transport people to polling places, setting up voter reg classes in different languages, creating flyers to inform citizens about online voter reg and the right to take time off work to vote, and fighting for fair voting laws. We will file for 501(c)(3) status and host 500 voter reg drives by the end of 2020 and gain national support for our cause through social media.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Marketing Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

16 comments

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Spam
Photo of Jaslynn Dang
Team

Love the solution! Keep up the good work :)

Spam
Photo of Rachel Wu
Team

thank you!

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