News

All the latest and the greatest from the land o’ Bus. Check back here for updates, relevant research, news articles, and other related items.

Now Hiring: Executive Director

image-bus-federation-now-hiring

(Here’s the PDF version of the job)

Summary
The next Executive Director of the Bus Federation will lead and manage an organization that has emerged in recent years as a key grassroots operation, empowering young Americans to make changes in their own communities and across the country. The Executive Director works with a dynamic and inspiring crew of stakeholders – two boards of directors with twenty engaged, active, and fabulous members; a national staff currently comprised of seven talented, fierce individuals; nine affiliate organizations comprised of some of the brainiest and hardest-working folks in the field; and over four thousand partners. This individual will raise and direct millions of dollars while repping the views and values of the majestic Millennial generation in some of the most powerful rooms in the country.

About the Bus Federation
In 2009, four local, youth-led organizations launched the Federation to strengthen their own institutions, adapt our organizing model into new communities, and support the grassroots work we love around the country. Since that launch, we have grown, we have succeeded, we have learned a ton, and we found ourselves changed by our organizing. We learned that some strategies work everywhere — trust and empower young people to build power and set priorities in their communities — and that some tactics have only localized impact. And we learned that Beyonce’s “Feelin’ Myself” can be nicely adapted into a celebration of voting.

Since the founding, the Bus Federation has been responsible for some huge victories, including:

We are now in more than twice as many states and our footprint touches both oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes. Our budget this year is roughly $3 million, twice that when you include all of our Affiliates. Our partners for National Voter Registration Day are reflective of the nation as a whole, diverse in geography, race, ideology, partisanship, age, and gender.

Our next Executive Director will inherit an organization in a great moment of transition. Our staff, board, and Affiliates have found agreement to move forward on a number of strategies that will further increase the importance and prominence of our organization, including:

  • Our first-ever national issue campaigns, to advance the values of our generation at a national level.
  • Enhanced communications strategies, including a likely name change and national brand strategies for the first-time in our history.
  • Accelerated growth of our network into more states and communities, to ensure that more young Americans have support to build politically powerful organizations.

Our organization is a true Federation. Our local organizations ultimately govern our institution – we live to serve local organizing. The next Executive Director will lead an increasingly powerful organization, but must be capable of managing and guiding key relationships without significant hard power. This kind of network, full of incredible leaders at all levels, will be ready to pass new groundbreaking policies, grow into even more states, and engage millions through new creative ideas, while staying fresh and relevant for each new generation.

Job Responsibilities
The Executive Director of the Bus Federation is responsible for leading and managing the organization, specifically in the following ways:

  1. Strategic Leadership: Responsible for organizing a diverse set of stakeholders, including staff, board, and affiliated local organizations, to set the strategic direction of our youth organizing network. Creative, open-minded thinker willing to balance integrated political, financial, national/local, and short-term and long-term strategies.
  2. Fundraising: Responsible for raising organizational budget ($3 million and growing). Develop and execute organizational fundraising strategy and serve as lead pitch-maker and relationship builder with individual and institutional funders. Write compelling fundraising documents and pitches. Responsible for bringing in new donors and maintaining relationships with existing donors. Requires frequent travel and communication with donors.
  3. Management: Responsible for managing relationships with donors, staff, board, partner organizations, media, and other stakeholders. Knows how to delegate, share power and recognition, and instill a culture of creativity and productivity. Responsible for setting and managing to annual organizational and financial goals.

Qualifications & Experience
In addition to the skills associated with the job responsibilities, we’re looking for particular strengths in the following areas:

  • Commitment to the Mission. Dedication to grassroots, local organizing and empowering state/local organizations to lead our work. Commitment to trusting young leaders. Understanding of local grassroots organizations – bonus for understanding of federated organizations with local affiliates.
  • Champion of Organizational Diversity and Equality. Lift up leadership of young people of color. Personal understanding of racial justice and equity.
  • Organizer at Heart. Inclination to lead via organizing rather than by decree. Ability to build strong teams to accomplish goals without a need to bottom-line everything. Talented in coalition and team building.
  • Financial Management. Understanding of financial management and financial controls. Experience crafting and managing budgets and familiarity with financial reporting and compliance.
  • Communication Skills. Strong oral and written communication skills. Ability to write compelling fundraising documents and bottom line key communications with various stakeholders.

Additional Qualifications

  • Multi-tasker with excellent time management skills
  • Ability to operate without significant administrative support
  • Playful, funny, upbeat
  • Familiarity and comfort with voter file and interfaces, social media platforms, Google Apps
  • Ability to travel frequently (2-4 times per month, on average)

Equal Opportunity
The Bus Federation is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse work environment. People of color, young people, people with disabilities, people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions, and identities are encouraged to apply.

Logistics
Strong preference for Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; San Francisco/Bay Area, CA; or Washington, DC. In 2017, the Bus Federation will relocate our current HQ in Portland, OR to one of these four locations, depending on the Executive Director hiring. We want to be headquartered in a vibrant city with proximity to other partner organizations, an engaged donor community, and additional media and social media outlets.

Compensation: starting salary of $75,000-$100,000 per year, depending on experience and location. Benefits package worth approximately $7,000 annually includes health insurance, retirement contribution (SEP IRA), cell phone reimbursement, professional development, and generous paid time off, including paid family and medical leave.

To Apply
Please email hiring@busfederation.com as a single document (.doc or .pdf) including the following:

  • a cover letter, explaining why you want this job and what makes you well-suited to the position (please, show some personality);
  • a resume;
  • three references.

Please reach out to hiring@busfederation.com with any questions.

FINAL DEADLINE TO APPLY IS JANUARY 13TH, 2017.

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Statement on Recent Police Shootings

Statement of Stevie Valles, National Campaigns Director of the Bus Federation regarding recent police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling:

Today, like on many days before, America woke to hear of yet another non-threatening unarmed black person fatally shot by a police officer. As a black man growing up in this country, I have dealt with almost every emotion imaginable when it comes to the police – admiration, fear, hatred, and sadness, to name a few.

The feeling that has bothered me the most is that because of the color of my skin I have never looked at cops as a primary source of protection; and due to the way my demographic is portrayed in the media, many cops don’t view me as an equal citizen deserving of their protection – but rather as a potential criminal who intends to kill, hurt, rob, or cause pain.

I am proud to work at an organization that is very diverse and understands the importance of making sure every voice is heard. As a network, The Bus Federation, stands in solidarity with the families of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and all African Americans today. We publicly acknowledge the injustices that plague black communities and applaud you for your resilience and your ability to climb above the insurmountable barriers that have been stacked against you.

We will continue to work on making sure local laws around policing, the legal system, and prosecutors are structured in a way that diminishes any and all biases. Through the work of our young leaders we will aim to create a system of law enforcement that judges based on character instead of characteristics.

Most importantly, we will continue to ensure that we not only stand with, and support you, but we prioritize giving you real power within our organization, and are in the driving seat of the change needed in your communities.

We encourage our allies in this movement to stand with and support black-led organizing efforts around the country today and to use this opportunity to engage and educate their friends and co-workers about the need for racial justice in this country.

The Bus Federation believes young people have the power to change the world. We support and scale the work of grassroots, youth-led organizations. Our nine local Affiliates have recently secured important victories advancing automatic voter registration, funding for schools and mass transit, LGBTQ equality, and a more safe and just society.

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Statement on the Overtime Rule

Contact: Matt Singer

Statement of Bus Federation Executive Director Matt Singer regarding the Department of Labor Rule on Overtime:

“The Bus Federation applauds the Department of Labor’s new rule on overtime.

“Growing income inequality is one of the major problems of our time, the result of inaction by our nation’s leaders for decades. In the last few years, spurred by a movement founded and led by fast food workers, our laws have started to catch up with inflation, requiring fairer wages and benefits.

“We still have a ways to go, including within our own movement. It has been far too common for jobs in our sector to require long hours while receiving too little pay. People eagerly enter our movements as ground-level staff organizers to advance progressive values, only to be turned off by low pay, grueling hours, and few opportunities for professional development. This brain drain has undermined our work for decades, and new rules to improve compensation will almost certainly strengthen our movement in the long run.

“We’re glad to see rules challenging us to be better. We know that we can’t have a just, democratic, and sustainable society until we have just, democratic, and sustainable organizations.”

The Bus Federation believes young people have the power to change the world. We support and scale the work of grassroots, youth-led organizations. Our nine local Affiliates have recently secured major victories advancing automatic voter registration, funding for schools and mass transit, LGBTQ equality, and a more safe and just society.

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NOW HIRING: Organizational Health Director

Job Description: Organizational Health Director

Summary

The Bus Federation seeks an Organizational Health Director to work with our national staff, boards of directors, and an expanding state affiliate network to oversee all affiliate capacity building for the network, and manage national fundraising efforts. The right applicant will have experience as an Executive Director, Deputy Director, or senior board member within the Bus Federation network, or have comparable experience in a national grassroots network. This position plays an integral role in organizational strategic planning, board member management, financial analysis, and affiliate support.

Responsibilities

Affiliate Capacity Building – 75%

  •  Oversee development, training, and evaluation systems for all aspects of affiliate capacity building, including but not limited to fundraising, operations, financial management, staff and board management, programmatic work, and managing transitions.
  • Manage the Affiliate Capacity Taskforce to assist with Capacity Building plans, work, and evaluation.
  • Conduct affiliate capacity needs assessment and develop and deliver capacity building plans.
  • Develop organizational health resources, including trainings, coaching opportunities, and resource libraries for affiliate staff and boards.
  • Manage network conferences, convenings, and trainings.
  • Facilitate peer learning opportunities across the network in multiple disciplines.
  • Assist Executive Director with management of the network-wide Executive Director committee.
  • Assist national issue campaigns, particularly as it relates to campaign planning and implementation on the local/state level.

Development – 25%

  • Work with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Fundraising Taskforce to develop and implement the organization’s annual fundraising plan, with an anticipated 2016 budget of $2.8million.
  • Manage day to day fundraising efforts, including grant writing and reporting, board fundraising, donor communication, and production of educational materials.
  • Develop fundraising strategies for national issue campaign work and national program corporate sponsorships.
  • Align national fund development work with Affiliate fundraising efforts to ensure transparency, clear communication, and strong donor relationships.

Qualifications

Strong applicants will have the following experience/skills:

  •  Proven track record building and sustaining civic engagement and/or social justice organizations.
  • Experience as an Executive Director, Deputy Director, or senior level board member within the Bus Federation network, or comparable experience in a national grassroots network.
  • Significant financial management experience, including financial analysis, financial controls, and budget development.
  • Proven track record developing and successfully implementing fundraising plans.
  • Experience managing board/staff fundraising efforts.
  • Systems builder with an eye for detail and organization.
  • Natural team builder; respectful and respected leader.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.
  • Commitment to grassroots democracy and social justice.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff or volunteers, including people of color; LGBTQ, immigrant, and low-income communities; and with individuals with disabilities.

Relevant Software & Tools:

  • Google Apps
  • Pages, Numbers, & Keynote
  • VAN, NGP, Action Network, basic HTML

Logistics

The Organizational Health Director will report to the Deputy Director, will support two national taskforces, and could provide day-to-day supervision to additional staff in 2016. This is a full-time exempt position.

Location: Preference for Portland, OR or in a current Bus Federation full affiliate location (Denver, Seattle, Missoula, or Chicago). We’ll consider other remote office possibilities for the right candidate.

Travel: The position requires occasional travel, averaging 1-2 trips per month, to affiliate locations, and for development purposes.

Compensation: Salary will be in the range of $50,000 – $70,000 and is based on experience. The Bus Federation offers a benefits package worth roughly $8,000 annually and includes health and dental insurance, retirement contribution (SEP IRA), cell phone reimbursement, professional development, and generous PTO.

About the Bus Federation

The Bus Federation fuels a locally-led movement for next-generation hands-on democracy. Our network of affiliates engages young voters, trains new leaders, and advances policy for the good of our generation. But we’re not just a network. We’ve also grown into one of the premier collaborative organizing hubs through programs like National Voter Registration Day and the Great American Voter Guide.

The Bus Federation Civic Fund is a 501(c)(3) educational charity based in Portland, OR and is responsible for some of the largest civic engagement programs in the country, both through our Affiliates and through national programs like National Voter Registration Day. The Bus Federation Action Fund is a social welfare organization developing new leaders with the policy, engagement, and political skills needed to transform their neighborhoods, campuses, cities, and states.

If You’re Interested

Submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to sarah@busfederation.com by December 30th, 2015.

The Bus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Organizational Health Director Job Posting

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Request for Proposals: National Voter Registration Day Outreach

Request for Proposals: National Voter Registration Day Outreach

Project Overview

On September 22nd, 2015, volunteers, election administrators, and organizations will hit the streets for the fourth annual National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated volunteer, technology and media efforts will create widespread awareness of voter registration opportunities–allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters or more who we could not reach otherwise.

Proposals Sought:

One of the main goals of National Voter Registration Day is to register new voters to participate in the upcoming election in November 2015. We need groups who have a strong local and/or national presence and to recruit organizations to hold voter registration events on National Voter Registration Day.

The contract(s) that may be granted will be based on an organization’s ability to set goals and carry out an effective outreach plan for National Voter Registration Day. The plan submitted should be based on the following numbers:

  • Partners recruited
  • Events held
  • Voters registered
  • Volunteers participating

Example types of organizations that may be able to receive outreach contracts are:

Contracted organizations can include, but are not limited to, the following focus areas:

  • Civic engagement or national nonprofit networks
  • Capacity building/technical assistance networks
  • National fraternities and sororities
  • Diverse outreach to racially, geographically, and socioeconomically marginalized communities
  • Non-English speaking community outreach

Proposal Instructions:

Please include the following in your written proposal:

  • Organizational bio
  • Organizational goals that you plan to achieve for National Voter Registration Day 2015
  • Brief overview of past work and participation for National Voter Registration Day
  • Past and current work with specific groups including non-English speakers, communities of color, people with disabilities, bipartisan groups
  • Project budget for the work being proposed

Decisions will be made based on setting appropriate and realistic goals, past experience with National Voter Registration Day, and experience working with diverse communities, including but not limited to non-English speakers, communities of colors, people with disabilities, and bipartisan groups.

Budget & Process:

  • Proposed budgets should generally be within $2,500 – $15,000 depending on scope of work.
  • Multiple contracts will be granted.
  • Payments will be made in several installments based on progress towards the goal set.

Evaluation:

Contracted organizations will be evaluated based on:

  • Partner sign ups through referral tracking system
  • Results submitted after National Voter Registration Day based of committed goals for:
    • Events held
    • Voters registered
    • Volunteers participated
    • Final partner sign up count
  • Ability to ensure that National Voter Registration Day is accessible to and engaged with all Americans

Timeline:

Proposals are welcome at any time with preference given to those received by COB on August 1st.

Rolling decisions will be made starting August 8th.

Please send proposals to Fiona Yau-Luu at fiona@nationalvoterregistrationday.org

 RFP – National Voter Registration Day 2015 Outreach

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Request for Proposals: Design Services

Request for Proposals: Design Services

Project Overview

On September 22nd, 2015, volunteers, election administrators, and organizations will hit the streets for the fourth annual National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated volunteer, technology and media efforts will create widespread awareness of voter registration opportunities–allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters or more who we could not reach otherwise.

Project Background

National Voter Registration Day requires graphic design work to update content for posters that will be printed and social media graphics that both will be utilized by the hundred to thousands of individuals, organizations, and businesses of the holiday.

Target Audience

The audiences for National Voter Registration Day materials are:

  • potential business, nonprofit, and election administrator partners, including entities managed by individuals with disabilities;
  • committed business, nonprofit, and election administrator partners, including entities managed by individuals with disabilities;
  • potential and committed individual, foundation, and business donors and sponsors;
  • potential and actual volunteers, including individuals with disabilities;
  • potential, new voters, including language minorities and individuals with disabilities.

Publicly accessible past designs:

http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/resources/partner-toolkit#toolThree

Required elements

  • Integration of current logo
  • Creation of poster design to be printed that can be adapted for multiple designs in other languages
  • Creation of 5 social media graphics/shareables each that can be adapted into multiple designs in other languages
  • Creation of a final report template for digital distribution
  • Creation of layout for voter education palm cards

Desired Elements

  • More photos of people integrated into social media designs
  • Printed posters double sided with “Register to Vote Here” on one side and include open space in design to allow printed design to be hand-written on
  • Ensure designs stay generally aligned with our current branding
  • Designs need to direct people to NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org
  • Emphasis on creation of materials that speak to diverse communities
  • Ability to layout and list non-English languages in designs

Timeframe

Proposals Due: 6/19

Decision Date: 6/26

Draft poster design due: 7/3/15

Final poster design due: 7/10/15

Draft palm card design due: 7/3/15

Final palm card design due: 7/10/15

Draft social media graphics due: 7/17/15

Final social media graphics due: 7/31/15

Total Budget

Up to $5,000

We may select multiple designers for social media images and shareables to make sure that we have diversity of looks and feels.

Proposal Instructions

  • Summary of design experience
  • Existing client references
  • Labor Estimate/Proposed budget
  • Examples of previous work

Criteria for selection:

  • Ability to meet budget and timeline
  • Commitment and alignment to our project values –  promoting civic participation and education, and mass engagement of citizens in democracy through voter registration
  • Quality of previous work and alignment with our visual aesthetic

Please send proposals to Fiona Yau-Luu at fiona@busfederation.com by COB on Friday, June 19th.

RFP – Design Services

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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: National Voter Registration Day Website and Translations

On September 22nd, 2015, volunteers, election administrators, and organizations will hit the streets for the fourth annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). This single day of coordinated volunteer, technology and media efforts will create widespread awareness of voter registration opportunities.

The Bus Federation Civic Fund is seeking proposals for work on National Voter Registration Day 2015 for website development and translation work for the holiday. Please see PDFs for full details.

RFP – Translations

RFP – Website

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NOW HIRING: National Campaigns Director

Job Description: National Campaigns Director

Bus Fed Group Shot

 

The Bus Federation seeks a National Campaigns Director to work with our national staff, boards of directors, and an expanding state affiliate network to coordinate national issue campaigns; bottom-line strategy, vision, and partnerships for National Voter Registration Day; and oversee all aspects of our newest national program – the Great American Voter Guide. The right applicant will have experience managing sizable program work, including developing and implementing strategy and working with broad sets of stakeholders. Director level positions at the Bus Federation are responsible for supporting the entire organization, including strategic planning, staff management, affiliate support, and financial analysis.

The position includes the following responsibilities:

Network-Wide Issue Campaigns

  • Partner with affiliate staff to frame national vision and maintain coherence for multi-state issue campaigns on economic justice, climate, police accountability, and other joint campaigns.
  • Assist Program Director with incubating new affiliate organizations, particularly as it relates to issue campaign planning and implementation.
  • Support campaign outreach to funders, media, and partner groups.

National Voter Registration Day

  • Develop and communicate the vision and strategy for National Voter Registration Day, including strategic planning, budgeting, and evaluation of the program.
  • Manage brand and major nonprofit partnerships.
  • Solicit, manage, and oversee contracts to manage communications, web and digital, partner outreach, language translations, and legal support.
  • Provide day-to-day supervision and work collaboratively with the National Programs Manager.

Great American Voter Guide

  • Oversee and bottom-line all aspects of the print and digital voter guide project in collaboration with the Program Director.
  • Partner with national and affiliate staff to develop strategic vision of the program.
  • Recruit and support voter guide partners, to be limited in scope in 2015 but likely upwards of 100 partners in 2016.

Qualifications

Strong applicants will have the following experience/skills:

  • Proven track record developing and implementing civic engagement and/or social justice campaigns.
  • Demonstrated experience working in state-based coalitions, organizations, or campaigns.
  • Experience working in diverse communities and on diverse teams of staff or volunteers, including people of color; LGBTQ, immigrant, and low-income communities; and with individuals with disabilities.
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Natural team builder; respectful and respected leader.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.
  • High level of confidence and friendliness.
  • Capable of trusting young and inexperienced people with significant responsibility.
  • Commitment to grassroots democracy and social justice.

Relevant Software & Tools:

  • Google Apps
  • Pages, Numbers, & Keynote
  • VAN, NGP, Action Network, basic HTML

Logistics

The National Campaigns Director will report to the Deputy Director and provide day-to-day supervision to the National Programs Manager and additional field staff in 2016. This is a full-time exempt position.

Location: Preference for Portland, OR or in a current Bus Federation affiliate location (Denver, Seattle, Missoula, Columbus, San Antonio, or Chicago). We’ll consider other remote office possibilities for the right candidate.

Travel: The position requires occasional travel, averaging 1-2 trips per month, to affiliate locations, and for partner/coalition purposes.

Compensation: Salary will be in the range of $45,000 – $65,000 and is based on experience. The Bus Federation offers a benefits package worth roughly $7,000 annually and includes health insurance, retirement contribution (SEP IRA), cell phone reimbursement, professional development, and generous PTO.

About the Bus Federation

The Bus Federation fuels a locally-led movement for next-generation hands-on democracy. Our network of affiliates engages young voters, trains new leaders, and advances policy for the good of our generation. But we’re not just a network. We’ve also grown into one of the premier collaborative organizing hubs through programs like National Voter Registration Day and the Great American Voter Guide Project.

The Bus Federation Civic Fund is a 501(c)(3) educational charity based in Portland, OR and is responsible for some of the largest civic engagement programs in the country, both through our Affiliates and through national programs like National Voter Registration Day. The Bus Federation Action Fund is a social welfare organization developing new leaders with the policy, engagement, and political skills needed to transform their neighborhoods, campuses, cities, and states.

If You’re Interested

Submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to sarah@busfederation.com by May 20th, 2015. Preference given to applications received by May 13th. 

The Bus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

National Campaigns Director

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Bus Federation Civic Fund 2014 Annual Report

Bus Fed Report Image

Bus Federation Civic Fund 2014 Annual Report

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3 Simple Tricks to Change the Game

Oregon just changed the game. New Motor Voter, the state’s landmark bill to shift responsibility for voter registration from citizens to the government, is attracting national attention. As a key driver of the coalition that developed and advanced this legislation, we wanted to offer our perspective on what made it possible:

Legislators and coalition members look on as Governor Brown signs New Motor Voter into law.

Legislators and coalition members look on as Governor Brown signs New Motor Voter into law.

Passing New Motor Voter required:

  1. A broad and powerful coalition supportive of the policy framework to move policymakers to support the legislation and make it a priority on a crowded docket
  2. A policy proposal crafted to suit the needs and the administrative capacity of the state, developed by local experts
  3. A deeply supportive secretary of state, committed both to passage and implementation

We got to this place due to the unique commitment of Oregon’s progressive infrastructure to voter registration. In 2009, the Oregon Bus Project, Oregon Student Association, OSPIRG, AFSCME, and the Oregon Education Association proposed legislation to make Oregon the 4th state in the country to embrace online voter registration, after running grassroots voter registration drives to reach tens of thousands of Oregonians — realizing that systems reform could accomplish the same with a stroke of the pen. This effort forged a partnership between advocates and then-Secretary of State Kate Brown, and began a conversation about moving to automatic voter registration.

Secretary Brown and Bus Organizer Brown present on the New Motor Voter concept before the 2015 session.

Secretary Brown and Bus Organizer Brown present on the New Motor Voter concept before the 2015 session.

As the war on voting ramped up between 2010 and 2012, Oregon’s progressive institutions — labor unions, civil and human rights organizations, community organizations, environmental groups — became more committed to protecting and expanding the right to vote. In the days following the 2012 election, the Bus brought together groups around a bold voting rights proposal. With leadership from the 2009 partners as well as SEIU and Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, the coalition agreed to prioritize a simple-but-ambitious policy framework–the set of principles that would eventually become New Motor Voter.

When these organizations began shopping this policy framework to elected leaders, Secretary Brown immediately endorsed the concept and set to work on an updated bill draft. When the Secretary of State and the voting rights coalition began approaching lawmakers, the diversity and the power of the coalition quickly got us the support we needed among chamber leadership and a majority in the House. The bill ended up dying narrowly in the Senate on a 15-15 vote.

In the two years following 2013’s setback, the coalition continued to support the legislation and Secretary Brown worked on a few changes to neutralize some opposition from county governments. When the new legislature met in 2015, political dynamics had changed slightly. Secretary Brown soon became Governor. The coalition and the new Governor doubled down on the push for the bill, securing victory in both chambers.

What We’ve Learned

Oregon’s victory follows from the same approach we’ve seen work in multiple states recently to move pro-active voting rights legislation, including New Motor Voter; Colorado’s Election Modernization bill; and both Online Voter Registration and Same Day Registration in Illinois. In all states, victory depended on:

  • building and engaging a strong and diverse coalition to craft and support the policy;
  • a policy framework suited to the needs and capacity of the local community;
  • support (or at least neutrality) from key election administrators.

What’s Next in Oregon

The same coalition that powered the legislative victory is now working together on 1) implementation — the rulemaking and nuts-and-bolts work that needs to happen by the state and counties for the new law to be implemented properly, and 2) engagement — educating, engaging, and mobilizing the 300,000-500,000 new voters expected to be registered by the new law as well as registration efforts targeting the many voters who will not yet be registered under New Motor Voter. For this bill to become a national model, we first need to prove that it can be effective in transforming our democracy.

Moving to Other States

newmotorvoter-caAlready, Oregon’s bill is capturing the imagination of voting rights advocates across the country. California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla has already introduced a similar bill and state legislators across the country have requested drafts. The Bus argues that the success of gamechanging policy in other states will depend on the same framework that has driven success in Oregon (and Illinois and Colorado): strong and diverse local coalitions, policy crafted to meet the local lay of the land, and effectively securing support of or neutrality of election administrators. When prioritizing where to invest resources to support coalitions, the Bus also considers the legislative politics of a state. The Bus is currently talking to a number of national networks about strategies to advance bolder policy. These conversations are in addition to engagement with national voting rights policy organizations, as well as organizations who specialize in media and culture.

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