YWCA Berkeley/Oakland GOTV Efforts

YWCA Berkeley/Oakland GOTV Efforts

By Jenna Colliflower

On Wednesday, September 26, YWCA Berkeley/Oakland held their Voter Registration Drive in an effort to get more of the Berkeley community registered to vote. With the upcoming midterm elections on the horizon it is vital that everyone who is eligible does indeed vote. In talking to members of the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland advocacy program, it became clear that one of their goals is to educate and inform Berkeley students and community members about what the local legislation is, particularly because much of it has to do with Berkeley’s housing crisis, something that will affect all students at one point or another.

The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland  is all about educating the community, and making the voting process simple and accessible. One major step they have taken is making available the option to register to vote via text. If you text the number provided, you will be asked for you zip code, and then based on your response you will be sent a link to register to vote online based on your county. This is much more effective than asking people to fill out long, paper forms on the spot; instead, they can do it all online, and on their own time. People think registering to vote is so much more complicated than it really is, which is why the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland efforts are so crucial.

The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland advocacy team was also passing out ‘Yes I Will Vote’ cards at their event as a pledge and reminder for those who are already registered to vote to actually go ahead and vote. Every year, YWCAs across the country make it a priority to get people to the polls. In the past, the Y has also partnered with organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the Brady Campaign, and Happy Period in order to educate the community on its respective legislation.

Berkeley legislation, in particular, surrounds housing, rent control, Prop 39, and the Costa-Hawkins Act, just to name a few. Yet, many students and community members who are directly impacted by these are not aware that they can have a say in these issues. They can have a say, as long as they take a few quick minutes to register to vote and read up on the local legislation, which the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland has made incredibly simple and user-friendly. The more individuals who get educated, get involved, and get voting the more positive change there will be for the Berkeley community and beyond.