What We've Accomplished
2007 Programmatic Achievements:
- Youth Vote:
- We worked with the San Francisco school board to help create Youth Vote, an education program that was implemented in all public high schools in San Francisco. All high school seniors will be able to register to vote through their social studies classes, and all students will participate in major voter and election education. The initiative, which includes $150,000 in funding, was carried by LYVEF-groomed School Board Member Jane Kim (youngest member of the School Board, inspired to run after reading the LYVEF’s book).
- In Pennsylvania we had a 19% increase in voter turnout in our targeted precincts which played a major role in swinging two tight Pittsburgh City Council races. One of our endorsees beat the "machine" candidate to become Pittsburgh's first openly gay city council member. The other defeated the heavily entrenched 'legacy' incumbant to become a new voice in Pittsburgh.
- Public financing: We worked closely with NM Common Cause (and turned out much of the people power) to pass a package of statewide clean elections bills. We succeeded in passing a public financing law for all statewide judicial candidates, an incremental step toward full public financing of elections in NM.
- Worker and environmental standards: We educated the public in NM about a policy that would have endangered workers, the environment, health and safety. The measure did not pass.
- Gun control: In WI, we consistently advocate around violence and gun issues affecting the local youth of color. We partner with Mothers Against Gun Violence to close loopholes on gun sales.
- Handcuffs in schools: We advocated successfully against an unprecedented measure that would have normalized the handcuffing of students who misbehave in Milwaukee public schools.
- IDs at the mall: In WI, we advocated against a policy at a local mall to require youth to show ID – effectively banning a particular segment of young people from the mall without viable recreational alternatives. While we did not succeed in overturning the policy, we generated a lot of support and media attention to the issue that young people in the inner-city lack access to positive recreational programs.
- Stopping transit cuts: In PA, we were the major community group that fought to stop major public transit cuts in Alleghany County. Through advocacy at the state, county and municipal level, we helped get the proposed transit cuts reduced from 50% to 11%.
- Community jobs: In PA, we helped form a citywide coalition called Pittsburgh United which is working to secure community benefits agreements for community-based jobs and resources coming from large scale publicly-subsidized development projects in Pittsburgh.
- Ex-felon voting rights: In PA, we advocated to the Department of Public Aid around an incorrect mailing they sent out stating that former felons were not allowed to vote. Because of our advocacy they issued a correction to 250,000 recipients of public aid.
- Access to college: In ME, we passed the unprecedented and innovative Opportunity Maine bill which eliminates most (up to $55,000!) student debt for students who stay in Maine after graduation. After we ran the effort to collect 73,000 signatures to get it on the ballot, the legislature decided to pass the bill outright.
- Support for artists: In ME, we also wrote and passed innovative legislation to extend Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts to include self–employed artists.
- Energy efficiency: In ME, we also partnered with the Public Utility Commission to implement an energy efficiency bill which we passed last year through a campaign called Rent GREEN which works with tenants and landlords to increase fuel efficiency of rental units.
- Supporting ally issues: In ME, we also partnered with ally organizations to pass other legislation, including the nation’s first law around Net Neutrality, a law to require environmental impact assessments for big box stores, and others.
- Lobbying: In New Mexico and Wisconsin we trained young people to participate in our Lobby Days. In WI, we turned out 150 young people and worked with city and state officials to introduce a Responsible Gun Ownership Bill, SB 104, to reduce the number of illegal handguns in the state. We also helped kill a bill that would have brought handcuffs into public schools.
2006 Programmatic Achievements:
- Youth Vote: Our Get Out the Vote program targeted a total universe of 7,243 voters in New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, using proven voter contact tactics, reaching voters at the doors and on the phone. We reinforced the program with well-attended, fun events in the community and with a street team operation that distributed 45,210 non-partisan voter guides to people where they already gather--street corners, barbershops, classrooms, welfare lines, concerts and parks to build momentum, educate voters, and create a buzz around participating in the election.
- Legislative Success: We organized a Western Pennsylvania coalition of formerly incarcerated people, seniors, college students, and disability rights advocates against HB 1318 and SB 5, which would have instituted felony disenfranchisement provisions and a requirement for voters to show ID at the polls. We succeeded in lobbying Governor Rendell to veto the bill. In Pittsburgh, we successfully lobbied the city council to change the date of a special election so that it would not fall during the University of Pittsburgh's spring break so that students could vote. In San Francisco we incubated a coalition effort which won public financing for mayoral elections in February 2006. In Milwaukee we blocked an anti-youth loitering ordinance presented to the city council by an 8-7 vote. In New Mexico, we organized small business owners in Grants to lobby the New Mexico State House Majority Whip to support and increase the minimum wage. In Maine, our innovative bill, LD 2074, "An Act Regarding Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Rental Properties," passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor in June 2006. And finally, in Portland, we helped pass an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance in the Portland City Council in December 2006.
- Getting Out the Vote Campaign: In 2006 we partnered up with Working Assets and a team of researchers led by Don Green at Yale University to throw a series of parties at polling places on Election Day and evaluate them, as an experiment to see whether parties at the polls were an effective method to drive up voter turnout. The experimental findings to date suggest that such events at the polls on Election Day do significantly increase voter turnout. Logistic regression estimates place the average treatment effect in the neighborhood of 5 percentage-points. Turning in the precinct of our most successful party, thrown at the University of Pittsburgh on the day of a March special election, increased an astounding 3,000% over the last similar election.
- Cincinnati: The Campaign for Youth (C4Y) is a project of the League and Elementz Hip Hop Youth Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH. The C4Y conducted a GOTV program targeting 4,317 of our supporters in the most socio-economically depressed neighborhoods of the city. The program combined traditional re-contact/GOTV methodology with non-traditional community events.
- Maine: We defeated TABOR (the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights) which would have gutted state funding for... everything we care about. The League was a lead orginzation persuading and turning out voters from downtown Portland to rural Maine (including five college campuses). League organizers pioneered a new model of youth engagement in Maine that turned out over 5,500 'No' votes on Question 1and pushed the campaign to defeat it over the top.
- Maryland: Maryland Votes is a project of the League on campuses across the state of Maryland. In 2006, the project worked with student volunteers to register over 8,000 new voters. By quadrupling turnout at our one student voting precinct at the University of Maryland, we got the attention of local legislators and press, including mentions in Washington Post, Arizona Republic, USA Today and Washington Times. Maryland was plagued by voting problems in 2006, and through the good work we did helping young voters and publicizing the problems, we got a state legislator and three delegates who are working with us to write student voting legislation (a "student voting rights act") for them to introduce in the spring of 2007.
- San Francisco: In SF, we helped swing 2 Board of Education races (Jane Kim, Kim-Shree Maufas). Jane Kim, a youth organizer in San Francisco's Chinatown, was roommates with Annie Koh, a co-author of the League's 2004 book, How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. Jane credits reading our book, and the League's ongoing support, with inspiring her to run for school board. After losing her first campaign in 2004, Kim came back in 2006 and placed first in a field of 15 candidates.
- New Mexico: In NM's June primary, the League supported State Representative candidate Antonio "Moe" Maestas, who was running in a hotly contested district on Albuquerque's West Side. Moe is a true progressive, and a long-time community activist on issues like urban sprawl, education, economic and racial justice. We helped him overcome opponents from wealthy and politically connected families. We talked to over a thousand voters about supporting Moe, and turned out hundreds with multiple GOTV contacts. Moe won the primary by 143 votes, and also came out on top in the general election. Together we took on the political machine--and won!
2005 Programmatic Achievements:
- Top Ten Success Stories:
- Won margin of victory in 8 elections in 5 states: ME, WI, LA, MN, and WA.
- Organized Western PA coalition of elderly, college students, disabled, and former felons against a partisan Bill requiring photo IDs at the polls and banning ex-felons from voting; influenced Governor to veto Bill.
- Held public hearing attended by 600 people which provided evidence for Congressional hearings to challenge Ohio's electoral vote.
- Helped block anti-youth loitering ordinance in Milwaukee that would have made it legal to arrest groups of three or more without cause.
- Pushed Pittsburgh City Council to change date of a special election not to fall during Spring Break so that students could vote.
- Managed 13 precincts for Alliance for a Better California's coalition to defeat Schwarzenegger's right-wing ballot propositions.
- Served as official youth arm of Maine Won't Discriminate Campaign; won historic statewide pro-LGBT ballot victory.
- Introduced three pieces of legislation including an innovative energy cost saving state law for renters.
- Incubated coalition on "Voter Owned Elections" in San Francisco; won public financing for Mayoral elections.
- Helped win a $1.5 million union contract in Missouri.