About Us

Our goal is to secure voting rights for 16 and 17 year old Oakland Students.

We believe students are experts of their own experience and are therefore equipped to govern the institutions that are supposed to serve them.

We believe students are experts of their own experience and are therefore equipped to govern the institutions that are supposed to serve them.


The Oakland Youth Vote Coalition aims to secure voting rights for 16 and 17 year-old Oakland students so they can hold those who run their school district accountable to their needs. The campaign also seeks to create an onramp to broader democratic participation for youth of color because studies show that younger first time voters are more likely to be lifelong voters. OYV seeks to help implement Measure QQ, register new voters, get students civically engaged, and ultimately, to build power for Oakland youth.


The Oakland Youth Vote campaign was launched by a coalition of youth and adult allies representing several local community organizations and groups that fight for youth power. The OYV Coalition is anchored by Oakland Kids First (OKF) and includes AYPAL, Californians For Justice (CFJ), the Oakland Youth Commission (OYC), and OUSD’s All City Council Student Union (ACC). Other partners who have actively supported our fight for youth voting rights include Youth Together, Power CA, and the Justice for Oakland Students Coalition.


The youth vote effort emerged out of student frustration at the limitations their advocacy had on School District decisions regarding budgeting, staffing, and school closures. Beginning in 2019, youth leaders from Oakland Kids First and All City Council began researching ways to build a brand of power that was immune from the type of tokenization and sidelining that had become commonplace in OUSD. They settled on the idea of fighting for youth voting rights in School Board elections and pitched it to other youth groups at ACC’s annual retreat. The Oakland Youth Vote campaign and coalition was born there.

After researching how voting rights could be won, youth organizers began meeting with Oakland City Council members to explore the issue and eventually partnered with then City Council President Rebecca Kaplan to develop a ballot measure that would grant voting rights in school board elections to 16 and 17-year old Oaklanders. As momentum was building, the COVID 19 pandemic shut down the city and put the Oakland Youth Vote campaign on thin ice. Students continued to forge ahead and convinced the City Council to agendize the issue. In May 2020, 100% of council members voted in support of placing the measure on the ballot, advancing Oakland Youth Vote to the public for a vote as Measure QQ in the November 2020 election.

After an arduous remote campaign, Measure QQ made history when it passed with 67% of the vote in Oakland. However, OYV is an unfulfilled promise until the Alameda County Registrar of Voters implements an election system that accommodates youth voters. And so the fight continues until youth can vote and have the power to transform the material conditions in their schools and district.

The OYV Coalition continues to organize for long-term implementation of Oakland Youth Vote, with a goal of enfranchising student voters by the next round of school board elections in 2024.

A report on the history and campaign, “No Decisions About Us Without Us: Lessons Learned from the Oakland Youth Vote Campaign,” is available here for download.

Oakland Youth Leaders Are Making History!

Hundreds of Oakland youth successfully organized and campaigned to get the Oakland City Council to pass a resolution placing Youth Vote on the November ballot.

After a year of testifying, writing letters, drafting the legislation and securing 300 endorsements, the City Council voted unanimously to put it on the ballot. Youth Vote is now Measure QQ and if it passes, Oakland will become the 6th city in the country to allow 16 and 17 years-olds the right to vote in School Board elections!

Measure QQ Steering Committee and
Core Student Leaders Committee:

All City Council Student Union, Oakland Kids First, Oakland Youth Advisory Commission, Justice for Oakland Students Coalition, Youth Together, Californians for Justice, AYPAL: Building API Power, and Power California.